In Hard To Be a God by Kornel Mundruczó, two truck loads of Hungarian girls, hoping for a better life in the West, are sold to Eastern European sadists who abuse them for violent pornography. One man has to decide whether to watch with a Godlike distance or act against this barbarism.
The play is performed on two truck beds. Inside the trucks, there 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 pornos in the name of some abstruse mystic sect. Not for the first time, Hungarian director and filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó interlinks human trafficking, the porno industry and sects with a penchant for violence in this play, one of his trademark Eastern European real-fiction pieces. However, this time the spectators’ blood will freeze in their veins, even though we know that the stage blood is not real. On the film set, the girls are tied up, scalded, beaten, humiliated and buried until their hearts stop beating. Two of them die. Their bodies are human material for the production of images. Mundruczó shows the scenes on screen, filmed live with a shaky handheld camera. Between the excessive violence, in short breaks of humanity, the performers inside the truck convert random items into instruments, playing and singing pop hits like What the World Needs Now Is Love or Oh Mamy Blue. One of the men, the doctor, was beamed into this human hell as a representative of another species. He is supposed to watch with godlike detachment. He will fail.
The Hungarian film and theatre director, with his anything but charming characters performing in hyper-realistic and intimate settings, sure knows how to unsettle his audience. His explosive mix of professional and amateur actors triggers compassion, even though they play tough, shocking characters. His latest production is based upon the motif of utter defenselessness. The plot ant the title is halfly 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, just as we avert our eyes from society's darker sides, such as human trafficking. By creating a staged reality show featuring real people on a real stage in a real van, Mundruczó holds up a mirror to the audience: will they, god-like beings, keep watching from sidelines? Or will they be moved to act?
Kornél Mundruczó was born in Hungary in 1975. He studied at the Hungarian University of Film and Drama and is now a renowned European film-director, whose films premier at the most prestigious festivals all over the world. After a short film (AFTA), he directed four features films (Pleasant days, Johanna, Delta, The Frankenstein-Project) and won various awards in famous festivals. His latest film The Frankenstein-Project premiered in the Official Selection of Cannes 2010. Since 2003, he has also been working for the stage with Krétakör Theatre,Thalia Theater Hamburg and Schauspiel Hannover among others.
Váradi Annamária: LÁNG Annamária
Andrea: WÉBER Kata
Zita: KISS Diána Magdolna
Emőke: TÓTH Orsi
dr. Varjassy Károly: RÁBA Roland
Attila: BÁNKI Gergely
Omar: KATONA László
János: DERZSI János
Varjassy Rudolf: SZEMENYEI János
Doktor: NAGY Zsolt
Set, costumes: ÁGH Márton
Dramaturgy: ZABEZSINSZKIJ Éva
Music: SZEMENYEI János
Assistant to director: LENGYEL Balázs
Directed by: MUNDRUCZÓ Kornél
Creative partner: PETRÁNYI Viktória
Production manager: BÜKI Dóra
Technical director, light: ÉLTETŐ András
Sound and video: BELÉNYESI Zoltán/REMBECZKI János
Props: NAGY Gergely
Coproducers: Alkantara Festival, Lisszabon, Portugália; Baltoscandal, Rakvere, Észtország; Culturgest, Lisszabon, Portugália; KunstenFestivalDesArts, Brüsszel, Belgium; Rotterdamse Schouwburg, Hollandia; Theater der Welt 2010, Essen, Németország; Théâtre National de Bordeaux, Franciaország, Trafó Kortárs Művészetek Háza, Budapest
The project was supported by NXTST, Eky-Light Kft., Prop Club Kft.