Dominik Kovács & Viktor Kovács

Dominik Kovács & Viktor Kovács

Ice Cake

meringue square and frozen meat in one act


English translation: Patrick Mullowney




SAROLTA “Schatzi” BÁNÓCZKY – 54 years old

GYÖRGY “Papa Gyuri” BÁNÓCZKY – Schatzi’s father, 82 years old

CSABI – Schatzi’s son, 30 years old

MARTI BANGA – Martin Horváth

BRO BANGA – Martin’s younger brother



GRANDMA “Nana” – Mari Farics



Not long before the house opens, a kind old confectioner appears. He introduces himself as György Bánóczky or Papa Gyuri. He carries out a tray of cake samples and offers them to the spectators waiting to see the show.


PAPA GYURI. Have you been waiting long? Was it a bad day? I brought some little cakes. I’ve been baking for fifty years. Right here is my little shop on 6 Árpád Street. Please, drop by, if you’re around.



Somewhere over the rainbow,

Where the flowers of paradise grow,

Not just anyone can be confectioner,

Only Papa Gyuri – that’s for sure.


But his only daughter Sarolta

Is the thorn in his old side.

She’s a yellowing, withering nettle plant –

Godless, lazy, and full of pride.


This Schatzi spawned a monster,

A warty toad, you know,

And his father was a dunderhead

Who went and drank Drano.


In Papa Gyuri’s backyard plot,

Schatzi grazes her livestock:

Two swayback asses who spy upon her,

The two bachelor Banga brothers.




Bro Banga and Marti Banga appear. They seem to be unhealthy men, gone to seed. Marti Banga is a bean-pole type with long, thin extremities. Bro Banga is younger, shorter, and puny. One of them holds a large notebook.


BRO BANGA. With what?





MARTI BANGA. Just ’cuz.

BRO BANGA. Did it work?


BRO BANGA. Where’d you see it?

MARTI BANGA. Channel 3.

BRO BANGA. Average?

MARTI BANGA. Let’s say average.


MARTI BANGA. With what?

BRO BANGA. A needle.


BRO BANGA. A patient.


BRO BANGA. Just ’cuz.

MARTI BANGA. Did it work?


MARTI BANGA. Where’d you see it?

BRO BANGA. Channel 1.

MARTI BANGA. Satisfactory.

BRO BANGA. Could be average.

MARTI BANGA. Satisfactory!

BRO BANGA. Average!

MARTI BANGA. Satisfactory!

BRO BANGA. Average!

MARTI BANGA. Satisfactory!

BRO BANGA. Fine. Let’s say satisfactory. Your turn.



MARTI BANGA. An old woman.

BRO BANGA. With what?

MARTI BANGA. The old woman’s cane.

BRO BANGA. Did it work?


BRO BANGA. Where’d you see it?

MARTI BANGA. Channel 2.

BRO BANGA. Average?


BRO BANGA. Public works man.

MARTI BANGA. With what?

BRO BANGA. A spade handle.


BRO BANGA. Another worker.

MARTI BANGA. Did it work?


MARTI BANGA. Then, I saw it, too!

BRO BANGA. Nah, you were out in the yard.

MARTI BANGA. I was inside. We watched the news together!

BRO BANGA. You were outside!




BRO BANGA. You didn’t see it! (They start to exit.)

MARTI BANGA. I did, so it doesn’t count! (They exit fighting.)


But hark! What are they saying?

Into the sweet shop they come –

An old woman and her grandchild

With a dirty, filthy mug!




In Papa Gyuri’s shop. There are fruit syrups in vivid colors for making sodas. There are extracts, jams, cake moulds, cookie cutters, cutting boards, whisks, and old-fashioned metal containers of ice cream lined up. On the table is a tray of lemon drops. Granma and Grandchild enter at the door on the left side.


GRANDMA. Now, don’t be scared of Papa Gyuri. He’s an angel.

GRANDCHILD. There’s strawberry candy!

GRANDMA. And he’ll give you some. You just smile at him. And tell that poem you recited for the contest. Papa Gyuri loves children.

GRANDCHILD. Look at all the syrups.

GRANDMA. When I was a little girl, we always bought sodas from him.

GRANDCHILD. How long will we be here?

GRANDMA. He baked our wedding cake, too. (calls) Papa Gyuri! Papa Gyuri! Are you at home?

GRANDCHILD. Nana, do you know what Mama wants to buy for me?

GRANDMA. (does not pay attention to Grandchild’s question) Why, the old man must be over eighty!

GRANDCHILD. You know what Mama wants to buy?

GRANDMA. And all day he never rests. Papa Gyuri doesn’t move from his cakes.

GRANDCHILD. Mama wants to buy me a golden hamster.

GRANDMA. I remember, in the old sweet shop, if I peeked in on my way to school, there were long trays of cream pastry. That’s when Papa Gyuri sliced them up.

GRANDCHILD. A golden hamster.

GRANDMA. A heart of gold has Papa Gyuri!

GRANDCHILD. When are we going home?

GRANDMA. Always smiling. The old man’s an angel.

GRANDCHILD. When are we going home?

GRANDMA. Although it’s not been easy for him. Never was. It’s not been easy for Papa Gyuri.

GRANDCHILD. Mama said we’ll go to Campona Mall on the weekend.

GRANDMA. Never poor. No, no, Papa Gyuri was never poor. He ran the business well.

GRANDCHILD. Mama said she’d take me to the circus, too.

GRANDMA Papa Gyuri’s wife died young. Mama Panni was only in her thirties. And Papa Gyuri had to raise their daughter all by himself.

GRANDCHILD. Are you coming with us?

GRANDMA. That angel of an old man is completely alone. He never took another wife after Mama Panni. Well, and that Schatzi’s such a... She never would have stood for that. And Papa Gyuri didn’t want a step-mother raising that girl. That Schatzi was so… That Schatzi was such a…

GRANDCHILD. Nana, my finger hurts.

GRANDMA. That Schatzi was always after me. She’d come to ride the horses. Your great-grandpa worked on the stud farm, you know. Oh, she was spoiled that Schatzi. She always had the reins in her hand.

GRANDCHILD. My tooth aches.

GRANDMA. Smile at Papa Gyuri, and he’ll give you a sweet. Tell that poem you recited for the contest. I hope Schatzi isn’t at home. All she does is lie about and loaf about. She’s fleeced the old man well, she has!

GRANDCHILD. Strawberry candy…

GRANDMA. That Schatzi’s a good-for-nothing.



(Schatzi enters. She is muttering and in a foul mood. Grandma turns to Grandchild.)


GRANDMA. Hey! Pssst! Dearest Sarolta, I’d like to order a cake. Papa Gyuri? Where’s Papa Gyuri?

SCHATZI.      I ate him.

(Brief silence)

GRANDMA. Now, Sarolta, don’t joke around. Where’s your father?

SCHATZI.      He went to the Seniors’ Club.

GRANDMA. And when does he get back?

SCHATZI.      I don’t know.

GRANDMA. Does he usually stay away long?

SCHATZI.      A long, long time. Those old geezers from the Trade Association can kiss each other’s asses for hours.

GRANDMA. At least, he’s well.

SCHATZI.      I must speak to him.


SCHATZI.      He’s going senile.


SCHATZI.      He left his signet ring in the toilet again.

GRANDMA. He’s old now…

SCHATZI.      He was so worried about it, he took it off. Then, he forgot it.

GRANDMA. Poor thing.

SCHATZI.      So what type of cake? Strawberry, black forest, Russian cream, chocolate, chestnut?

GRANDMA. Like last time. That’ll be fine. The one he baked for my Tommy’s birthday. The whole family’s coming home. It will be our thirtieth anniversary.

SCHATZI (forced) How great!

GRANDMA. Do you remember when we got married?

SCHATZI.      I remember.

GRANDMA. Your dear father baked our wedding cake, too.

SCHATZI.     I remember.

GRANDMA. All three of my sons are coming home. Tommy, Barnie, and Stevie. They’re bringing the grandchildren. The youngest is one and a half years old. There will be fifteen of us at home.

SCHATZI.      Dead Lord! Fifteen?

GRANDMA. And yours?

SCHATZI.      He’s fine.

GRANDMA. When was he at home?

SCHATZI.      Not since Christmas.

GRANDMA. Well, when’s he coming?

SCHATZI.      I don’t know.

GRANDMA. Are you two feuding?

SCHATZI.      No. Why should we?


SCHATZI.      So, chestnut cake like last time.

GRANDCHILD.   Candy… Nana!

GRANDMA. Can you believe that crazy husband of mine? He wants to put on his bridegroom suit for the anniversary.

SCHATZI.      Well, if he can still fit in it.

GRANDCHILD. Strawberry candy…

GRANDMA. He’s been dieting since January to fit inside it. He says he wants to please me.

SCHATZI.      Well then, let him.

GRANDMA. He says I haven’t aged in thirty years. And I can’t see any old age on him either. He putters about, doing odd jobs all day. And is your son still together with that woman? (Schatzi is silent.) Now, could you be feuding?

SCHATZI.      No. Why should we?

GRANDMA. So, chestnut cake like last time. I’ll come for it on Monday. Oh, and Sarolta, give my kisses to your angel of a father.

GRANDCHILD. Strawberry candy… 

SCHATZI (digs into the tray of candy and puts a good fistful in the child’s hand, trying to be pleasant) Take that! Here’s your candy! (Grandma and Grandchild exit. Schatzi remains, muttering to herself.) Tommy, Barnie, and what-the-fuck… Stevie… (imitates Grandma) When was he at home? Are you two feuding? Stupid peasant… (smokes) Enjoy yourselves, Mari. Live it up. I shit on you from on high!



(Papa Gyuri enters. He’s an old gentleman, but very corny.)


PAPA GYURI. Puffing away!?

SCHATZI.      Yes.

PAPA GYURI. It’s not enough that we have all these layered cakes, Gerbeaud… and the syrups and the puddings. They step inside and think it’s some low-life dive.

SCHATZI.      So?

PAPA GYURI. Did you clean up?

SCHATZI.      Yes. Mari Farics dropped in. She ordered a chestnut cake for Monday. You can be happy you weren’t here. She would have kissed you head to foot. She says I have an angel of a father.

PAPA GYURI. You see? They respect me here. I’ve been baking for almost thirty years. My pastry shop was a classy place, you remember. When the county leaders came for the council, they’d stop by here afterwards and wolf down thirty coconut swirls. And I made all that cotton candy for the First of May. I could take care of everything! I was considered one of the most influential men! And I was never a Party member! How many raved about my orange ice cream? I was the first to make ice cream in the village. Many people didn’t even know what it was. Of course, they lapped it up.

SCHATZI (ironically) That’s what makes my father an angel.

PAPA GYURI. We were just talking in the club about… (notices the missing candy) Have you been gobbling the candy?

SCHATZI.      I gave a couple to Mari’s granddaughter. They’re always after those.

PAPA GYURI. For free, huh? I thought so. Next the cake will be free, huh?

SCHATZI.      She was so demanding. (imitates Grandchild) Strawberry candy... strawberry... nani-nani-nani… Phooey!

PAPA GYURI. Mari’s granddaughter? More like grand nausea. (laughs a long time at his own joke) Silly goose, don’t do that ever again! We’re not millionaires. If we do something for them, they should pay.

SCHATZI.      Just a couple of candies.

PAPA GYURI. Good-for-nothing types! They eye the candies, but they don’t want to pay for them…

SCHATZI.      Whatever.

PAPA GYURI. Vince Pécsi just got back from Kiskunmajsa.

SCHATZI.      What was he doing there?

PAPA GYURI. His son and his daughter-in-law took him to the spa there on vacation.

SCHATZI.      Well!

PAPA GYURI. They took the old man up for the weekend. Vince says he got his own room, and some young girl massaged him. He was ecstatic. Vince told me he ate a steak this big for breakfast.

SCHATZI.      Well, the old fart can be happy he has something to brag about.

PAPA GYURI. He can be happy to have such a family! He lives like a baron! His son and his daughter-in-law love him, and they have money. They grant Vince’s every wish. All he’s got to do is whine a little, and they buy it for him. Not like some people…

SCHATZI (ironically) Oh, woe is me!

PAPA GYURI. We can’t go to places like that. That’s been left out of my life…

SCHATZI.      Lots of others can’t. Not just you. So take it easy.

PAPA GYURI. Any news about Csabi?

SCHATZI.      No.

PAPA GYURI. He hasn’t called?

SCHATZI.      No.

PAPA GYURI (disparagingly) Fine child.

SCHATZI.      Who cares?

PAPA GYURI. Best if he doesn’t call. (Schatzi exits.)




Flashback. Schatzi is holding her belly when Papa Gyuri enters. The old man crosses to her, sniffs about her, then bursts out shouting.


PAPA GYURI. Get out of here, all of you! You’re not devouring my life! Gobbling up everything!

SCHATZI.      I’ve been with Feri ten years now.

PAPA GYURI. And now you’re going to have that shit’s child? That missing link?!

SCHATZI.      Fine.

PAPA GYURI. You’re going to starve alongside him!

SCHATZI.      Whatever.

PAPA GYURI. You’re ruining me! You’re ruining me!

SCHATZI.      Stop it!

PAPA GYURI. If you do this to me, if that child is born, I’ll hang myself. I’ll hang myself, you hear me!? (long howl, then begins barking hysterically)




The rings of a telephone are heard. Papa Gyuri is tense.


PAPA GYURI. Where’s that little lord going to seed now? Come on, pick up. Is it so impossible to speak to you? (Csabi appears. His appearance is slovenly, and his manner is torpid. During the conversation, he eats sunflower seeds and spits out the shells.)

CSABI.           What’s up?

PAPA GYURI. My good, sweet, honored lord. Where are you currently living it up? My esteemed Csabi, where is it you’re puffing your life away? Were you good enough to go to the Dream Cake Shop? Is the fondant on its way…?

CSABI.           What?

PAPA GYURI. Weren’t you at the Dream Cake Shop? The store?! It’s right across from you.

CSABI.           Yeah, it is.

PAPA GYURI. You promised to pick up the fondant. I gave you money for it.

CSABI.           Well, fine. I’ll do it later.

PAPA GYURI. Mail it! If you’re not coming, just mail it! I can’t wait till Christmas for it to get here!

CSABI.           Fine. (He exits. We hear the dial tone of the hung-up phone.)

PAPA GYURI. Worthless little shit. (He waves dismissively and strolls off.)




A rooster appears, an adult man in a stylized costume.


ROOSTER (begins singing softly, but with growing energy until he’s belting by the end)

The mistress’s rooster, cock-a-doodle-doo,

Perched up on the garden gate,

And all day long he cries, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!

The mistress has been untrue.”


SCHATZI (enters, knife in hand, a battle begins) I’ll have your guts, you rotten bastard!

ROOSTER.    Help!

SCHATZI.      You shit yourself!?

ROOSTER.    Monster! (tries to flee)

SCHATZI.      I’ll chop your balls off first!

ROOSTER (bantering)

Someone’s shit in my backyard,

They’ve fucked my dearest wife,

If you dare to do it one more time,

I’ll …     


SCHATZI.      I’ll slice your balls off with a knife!

(She pursues the Rooster, who sings another folk song in the meantime.)


My little woman is mad at me,

Because I drank up my money.

Let her be angry! What care I?

I’ll get some more money by and by.


SCHATZI.      Rotten drunk! You may kick me about, but not for long.

ROOSTER.    And what about our child?

SCHATZI.      He’ll get your head.

ROOSTER.    He still won’t come home! (sticks his tongue out at Schatzi)

SCHATZI.      Well then, I’ll have your head for lunch!

ROOSTER.    And your father?

SCHATZI.      He’ll wring your neck.

ROOSTER.    He’s been wringing your neck since the day your mother bore you.

SCHATZI.      What’s that, you? I’ll chew up your balls.


Schatzi got stung by a wasp,

It left its stinger in her twat.

In the bedroom, she’s a pro.

How many rounds can she go?


SCHATZI.      You worm! (Fight. Schatzi grabs the Rooster’s neck and strangles the writhing animal. The Rooster faces defeat.) Cock-a-doodle-doo!

ROOSTER.    Stop it!

SCHATZI.      Crow, you worm!

ROOSTER.    I love you!

SCHATZI.      I’ll pluck you…

ROOSTER.    Forgive me, sweetheart!

SCHATZI.      I’ll have your guts…

ROOSTER.    Beside you, I feel life is a wondrous dream…

SCHATZI.      Stop wasting your breath, you gypsy! I’ll cut off your head!

ROOSTER.    With your name on my lips…

SCHATZI.      You’ll be stewed!

ROOSTER.    I could even die for you.

SCHATZI.      I’ll bite off your balls! (Rooster dies.) Whew! He didn’t give in easily. (drags off the lifeless corpse)




Papa Gyuri enters dressed in clothes for relaxing around the house.


PAPA GYURI. What are you cooking, Sarolta?

SCHATZI.      Goulash. I killed the rooster.

PAPA GYURI. You carnivore! Can’t you go one day without meat? One day this week, you need go out to the cemetery. I’ll go with you, if I’m not behind in my work.

SCHATZI.      What for? We could be there long enough pretty soon. Go if you want to. I’ll carry the rake.

PAPA GYURI. Ha-ha-ha. You’d be too lazy for that... Your mother needs a new gravestone.

SCHATZI.      What’s wrong with the one now?

PAPA GYURI. It’s cracked, and the poor thing’s name has faded. You can barely read it.