Budapest buffet

For the next six days, I shall take the stage – with my Parkinson’s – at Hotel Ibis in Budapest. My performance is played out in the grand dining hall during the daily breakfast buffet, immediately after the tourist buses have picked up the larger groups at around eight o’clock – leaving me with a handy audience, the smaller the better.

Breakfast buffet is a complicated ritual also in Hungary. What it takes – apart from steady hands – is a sense of order, even a sense of colour and form; an ability to match portions with hunger; prepared to improvise; with a minimum of technical understanding. Personally, all I want from breakfast is to get through it quickly and quietly, like a man of the world would do. Turning it into a performance wasn’t my idea, but Parkinson’s.

“Room 905!” Its premiere day and I report at the entrance to a young lady wearing a yellow T-shirt. The dining room, still well-filled, is neither remarkable for its decoration nor for its coziness. There are at least a hundred tables, the smallest seating four people. The breakfast buffet – sufficient to keep you going for the rest of the day – has [...] continue the story