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Livestreamed on this page on Wednesday 30 September 2020 at 9:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 17:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 18:30 CEST (Budapest, UTC +2) / 19:30 EEST (Bucharest, UTC +3).

Scotland, United Kingdom
Wednesday 30 September 2020

The Hardest Word (Scotland)

As part of the Roma Theatre Retrospective 2020

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Independent Theater Hungary presented a performance and conversation around The Hardest Word (Scotland) as part of the Roma Theatre Retrospective 2020 livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 30 September 2020 at 9:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 17:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 18:30 CEST (Budapest, UTC +2) / 19:30 EEST (Bucharest, UTC +3).

The Hardest Word at Independent Theater tells about the civil activity of Jess Smith, a writer, poet, and storyteller belonging to the Gypsy Traveler community in Scotland.

The goal that Jess sets for herself is nothing less than demand the country’s first minister to apologize for the long centuries of persecution that Travelers had to suffer.

The monodrama displays both the vulnerability and the firm character of Jess. From her confession, we learn what challenges she has to face while fighting steadily for her goals—against her own family, the society or the authority.

Sometimes civil disobedience is the only way to maintain our dignity, she believes.

Background and impact of the play
Richard R O’Neill’s play, based on the story of Jess Smith, was first performed at Edinburgh Storytelling Festival in 2008. The issue of the centuries long persecution caught the attention of the Church of Scotland when one of the priests, Russel McLarty attended Jess Smith’s show at the festival.

After the premiere, Jess met the church leaders and this experience initiated long-lasting changes in the church’s approach to Traveler’s history.

When Jess Smith told her friend, the playwright Richard R. O’Neill about her plan to demand a statement of apology from the state, he offered to write a monologue for Jess—so this play is the demand itself.

Although neither the state nor the first minister apologized to the Traveler communities for the violation of their human rights, on 25 May 2012 the Church of Scotland did so.

In the UK, the performance brought countrywide recognition for the artists, inspired the everyday work of health care and community development organisations, and encouraged Roma women to write.

Written by: Richard R. O’Neill
Translated by: Viktória Kondi
Hungarian translation supervised by: Ágnes Stemler
Directed by: Rodrigó Balogh
Screenplay by: Márton Illés
Jess Smith – Edina Dömök
In Hungarian with English subtitles.

About the Series
Although Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe, they still experience high level of racism and have to deal with many societal issues. Additionally, Roma are being represented in a very stereotypical way in the media and art world. The Roma theater has more than a century long past with active professional theater groups in many European countries, but unfortunately, they are still hardly known. The Roma Heroes Theater Festival initiated by the Independent Theater Hungary is the only international Roma theater encounter in the World, which have been organized in every year since 2017. Many of the artists and their work are featured in this current series.

Judit Ignácz mostly worked at NGOs in Roma related projects, organizing and facilitating trainings, seminars concerning the topic of racism, human rights and non-formal education. She finished her studies of Master of Public Administration of School of Public Policy at Central European University and became a French and Romani language teacher at the University of Pecs. She also has experience in media and communication. She is passionate about human rights and non-formal education.

About HowlRound TV
HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world's performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email tv@howlround.com, or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal/WhatsApp. View the video archive of past events.

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