Katona József Theatre
Katona (Soldier) József Theatre, a splendid construction in neo-baroque style, designed by two renowned Viennese architects at the turn of the nineteenth century, is near the center of Kecskemét. I was anxious to check out its sumptuous interior, for I had used it as a scene in a historical novel I had written as a prequel to Shattered Tears.
The theatre scene involves Admiral Horthy returning from one of his hunting expeditions with his prized horses. A number of foreign heads of state accompanied him, but they had ulterior motives: they were pressuring him to supply additional troops to Hitler. But I am getting ahead of myself. I wanted to see Katona József Theatre first hand.
You can imagine my disappointment when I arrived to find it closed. It was Monday, and the theatre is always closed on Monday. After traveling so far and getting so close, the best I could do was peer through the front door.
I had another reason for wanting to see the theatre and find someone who would take me around. I remembered as a child sitting next to the plush red curtains in the upper balcony. My parents had taken me to view a show, my first time ever in a theatre. I don’t remember the play or the music, but I do remember being impressed by the stage and the vast seating. The theatre seats 900, and for a young child occupying a big, velvet chair, all to herself—well, that theatre seemed enormous.
And then I was heading back to Budapest, never to see it again. I regret not being able to capture a picture of the theatre’s interior.