HARD TO BE A GOD The play is performed in the holds of two trucks. Inside the trucks are young Hungarian girls who had hoped for a better future in the West. Somewhere close to the Ukrainian-Romanian border, they were sold to a group of Eastern European sadists who use them to shoot violent porn films in the name of some abstruse religious sect. The Hungarian film and theatre director Kornél Mundruczó knows how to unsettle his audience. The plot is borrowed from the Strugatsky brothers' sci-fi novel, Hard To Be A God. This is also where the uncompromising director got his idea of a God who watches his creation from a distance. Mundruczó holds up a mirror to the audience: will they, god-like beings, keep watching from the sidelines? Or will they be moved to act? The production has been invited to sixteen festivals throughout Europe and Australia.
Part of Mundruczó’s talent is the courage to present a story which does not aim to be credible, yet it shakes one to the core.
– Le Mouvement , France
Mundruczó forces his audience to play God. The spectators look passively on the events taking place right before their eyes, events that get nastier and nastier. The combination of the tableaux vivants on stage and the horrors projected on the screen is a shocking one. Most of all because it confronts us with the fact that reality out there is in fact much crueller still.
Nudity, torture, intellectual terror and murder – Kornél Mundruczó confronts the spectator mercilessly with violence. It may not be real blood that flows on stage, but watching this reality show hurts. Moments of sentimental yearning emerge in the musical interludes, when the actors in the lorry begin to make music with anything that comes to hand, be it a dustbin, an iron or a sewing machine.
It’s an intensely horrific and emotional piece of theatre, and it is the best production Adelaide festival has seen in some time.
KORNÉL MUNDRUCZÓ (1975) Director, screenwriter and actor. He studied at the Academy of Film and Drama in Budapest and is now a renowned European film director, whose films premiere at the most prestigious festivals all over the world. After a short film (AFTA, 2001), he directed five feature films (Pleasant Days, 2002; Johanna, 2005; Delta, 2008; The Frankenstein- Project, 2010; White God, 2014) and won various awards at famous festivals. Since 2003, he has also worked for the stage, with Krétakör theatre, the National Theatre of Hungary, Thalia Theater Hamburg and Schauspiel Hannover among others. His Budapest dramatisation of Sorokin's The Ice was performed at the Theatre festival in 2011. The festival has also hosted his production of The Bat, which he guest-directed at the TR Warsaw, his stage adaptation of Coetzee's novel Disgrace and the production Imitation of Life (both with the Proton theatre). With his disturbing view of the world he captures fundamental, essential themes, using highly artistic means, sentiment, genre clichés and “decadent methods”. All this he joins into a unique whole that defies categorization and is often even irritating.
PROTON THEATRE In 2009, Kornél Mundruczó, film and theatre director, and Dóra Büki, theatre producer, founded Proton Theatre, a virtual artistic company organised around the director’s independent productions. Besides preserving maximum artistic freedom, their goal is to ensure a professional structure for their independently produced theatre plays and projects. Their performances are chiefly realised as international co-productions, and their frequent collaborators include the Wiener Festwochen, HAU Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin, KunstenFestivalDesArts from Brussels, Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Budapest, and HELLERAU, Dresden. The ensemble currently has seven performances in its repertoire. Besides productions directed by the artistic leader – namely, The Ice (2006), Frankenstein Project (2007), Hard to be a God (2010), Disgrace (2012), Dementia (2013), Winterreise (2015) and Imitation of Life (2016) – they wish to provide space for the realisation of the company members’ ideas. The most recent productions by the company are Last, directed by Roland Rába (2014), 1 Link, directed by Gergely Bánki (2015), Imitation of Life, directed by Kornél Mundruczó (2016) and Finding Quincy, directed by János Szemenyei (2017). Proton Theatre performances have toured to more than 90 festivals over the years, including the Avignon Festival, Adelaide Festival, Singapore International Festival, Seoul Bo:m Festival and the Züricher Theaterspektakel.