Jumping the Gun

(1968. Comedy in 2 acts, prose. Characters: 5 men)

In a closed room, in which an enormous key is hanging on the wall, so escape is, in theory, possible, five men are present. One of them holds a gun to the other, which defines their relationship. Cuki [Cutie] is a lowlife, threatening Méltóságos úr [Mr. Honourable], representative of a bygone social order, and there is also Kiss [Small], an intellectual, Martin, a neo-peasant from the countryside and K. Müller, the small fry. The Hungarian title of the play is paraphrasing the name of a children’s game, puss in the corner. In the game the one with the pair of scissors in their hand (the gun in the play) is in a vantage position. During the play, the characters show their two faces: as holders of power (with the gun in hand), and, conversely, subdued by power. The first Hungarian absurd play was premiered in 1968 in the Thália Theatre.

Gábor Görgey was born on 22 November 1929 in Budapest. He studied at Pázmány Péter University, majoring in German and English. He first played supporting roles at the National Theatre, then worked as a clerk, after being relocated in 1950 because of his aristocratic descent. Later he was employed as a journalist at the Magyar Nemzet daily, then worked as a dramaturg at Pannonia Film Studio. Between 1982-1988 he was the head of the literary department of the Szeged National Theatre, then became the artistic director of Hungarian Television. Between 2002-2003 he was the head of the Ministry of National Heritage. His first play premiered in 1965 at Ódry Theatre, quickly rising to international fame, titled Jumping the Gun (literally: Where’s the Gun, Missus?) His plays mostly have an ironic voice, the characters appearing in tragicomic situations, defenceless against power.