What a Wonderful (and small) World

It was May of 2016 and I was about to head off for a three week tour in Europe with Touchstone Theatre (Bhudoo performed in Budapest and at the FLIPT Theatre festival in Italy).  My husband and I were having dinner with our neighbors, a delightful couple we’ve come to call friends.

Hans:  Where are you touring?

Me:  Budapest and Italy

Hans:  Ah!  My aunt was a famous actress in Budapest!

Me:  Really!

Hans:  Maria Sulyok.  (exits to get book written in Hungarian about his aunt with pictures of her from film and stage.  A famous actress indeed.)

Once in Budapest I happened to mention to the members of the Maladype Theatre that hosted us that my neighbor had an aunt who was a famous actress.  Who?  I couldn’t quite get the last name right (the piece of paper I’d written it on was back in my suitcase).  They looked baffled.  Later, I found the slip of paper and this ensued:

Mary:  Ah!  Her name was Maria Sulyok  (pronounced SHOOL-YOK).

Ildiko:  (eyes VERY wide)  SULYOK?  

Mary:  I think that’s how it’s pronounced.  (shows paper to Ildiko).

Ildiko:  SULYOK MARIA?  SULYOK?  Your neighbor is nephew of SULYOK MARIA?

Mary:  (thinking WOW!  She must be VERY famous!)

The next day Ildiko told me she had a surprise for me.  And on a walk she brought me to an apartment building in the old Jewish section of Budapest across the street from a great jazz club.  And there, in gold leaf on marble was this:

Home of Maria Sulyok

Home of Maria Sulyok

Yes, I went to Budapest and found the home of my neighbor’s relative.  How cool is that?