As the Ignatian Year is drawing to its close, the Hungarian Jesuit Province presented a musical on the life of the founder of the Society of Jesus, titled Ignatius – The Knight of Souls. The music was written by composer Márton Vizy, and the lyrics by Ágoston Dávid Tóth, renowned Hungarian authors of other similar plays. The musical was performed by the students of Fényi Gyula Jesuit High School in several Hungarian locations, then finally, on 28 July, it will be staged in Erkel Theatre in Budapest, affiliated to the Hungarian State Opera House with 1800 seats.
The school’s Magis Choir has a long history in performing musicals. Inspired by the traditional Jesuit school dramas, they have presented several Hungarian musicals on their school stage, and the hallmark of their work is “crowdsourcing” the choreography and other elements of the play. Their rehearsal process is carried out in workshops where each student may have a say as to how each scenes should be dramatized. Likewise, the casting is also subject to special discernment, not just the director, Mrs. Klára Velkey music teacher choosing the right student she thinks the most suitable for a certain role, but involving the whole community in the decision.
The musical saw huge success, with standing ovation nearly everywhere. The audience praised its spirituality, dynamism and humour, the catchy melody of its songs, the wit of the lyrics, and, above all, the authenticity of the students. “Being amateur actors and singers, they cannot compete with professionals. But what they might be in lack of in terms of professionalism, they add in enthusiasm, charm and genuineness” – said one of the spectators after the premiere in Miskolc.
Having been presented more than a dozen times, the musical will not end its career on the Budapest opera stage. It is hoped that the play will be staged by a Hungarian music theatre for the years to come what is more, the authors will seek the opportunity to present the English version abroad, offering the right to stage it to Jesuit institutions and communities as well.