Humour, criticism, political views and spicy paprika come together in this Cabaret series from the end of 1950s Hungary.
Pesti paprika on radio
In 1958 the Hungarian Radio broadcast a three-part cabaret series under the name Pesti paprika. The cabaret scenes are sassy, witty and funny and they give a whole new meaning to the terms “paprika” and “spice”. According to the cabaret host, Pesti paprika is a lot older than Szegedi paprika, it is as old as Buda and Pest. It is rooted in asphalt. It grows in apartment houses and offices. On concrete floors of factories and in smoke-filled coffee houses. Pesti paprika is the toughest plant in the world. It flourishes in heat and frost. No fire, flood, earthquake or war can do any harm in it. It is like a jungle plant: it grows speedily and it spreads everywhere. Pesti paprika is very similar to Szegedi paprika as both are spicy and hot. They only differ in the way people use them. Paprika from Szeged is food-seasoning, whereas Paprika from Pest seasons LIFE itself. Pesti Paprika is humour and spirit. Pesti Paprika Cabaret stories are brought to you by PaprikaMolnár’s Paprika Museum.
To interprete this particular cabaret scene we changed the original title from „career tango” – for want of a better word – to „political swing”. The Hungarian version is about moving right and moving left before entering (a party). The English version is about swinging right and left, as in politics…
Swing to the right, swing to the left
I recently visited a dance school, where I was supposed to make an interview for a weekend magazine. I was getting ready for stormy rock-and-roll music so I took some bromide as sedative. To my greatest surprise, the school dance teacher was teaching a very special swing to students.
DANCE TEACHER (claps hands in rythm): Swing to the right, swing to the left! Swing to the right, swing to the left! (Claps, then music stops.) Once more, please, you’re too forward! Music! (Piano restarts.) Now! Swing to the right, swing to the left!
CABARET HOST: Excuse me, sir! I’m sorry for interrupting the class, but may I ask what kind of a dance is this?
DANCE TEACHER: You certainly may, sir. This new dance is called political-swing. (To students:) Come on, let’s go. Swing to the right, swing to the left!
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