IMITATION OF LIFE Audiences at our festival are already well-acquainted with the provocative view of the world offered by Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó (The Ice, The Bat, Disgrace). As a tireless moraliser, he unveils the injustices and wrongs of the world through the use both of highly artistic and “low” sentimental means. In the Imitation of Life he searches for questions of identity against a background of growing extremism in Europe. A bailiff comes to throw a lonely woman out of her Budapest flat, but an unexpected turn of events prevents him from carrying out his intentions. The narrative is a footnote from the edge of society, where injustice is an unwritten law. The production balances between film and theatre, between social hyperrealism and mysticism. The point at which a set change harshly divides the production into two parts is an image of today’s uprootedness, and surely represents the most spectacular moment to be seen in theatre.
// Credits //
DIRECTION: Kornél Mundruczó
STAGE DESIGN: Márton Ágh
COSTUMES: Márton Ágh, Melinda Domán
LIGHT DESIGN: András Éltető
MUSIC: Asher Goldschmidt
DRAMATURGY: Soma Boronkay
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Anna Fehér
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Zsófia Csató
PRODUCER: Dóra Büki
MRS LÖRINC RUSZÓ Lili Monori
MIHÁLY SUDÁR Roland Rába
VERONIKA FENYVESI Annamária Láng
SZILVESZTER RUSZÓ Zsombor Jéger
JÓNÁS HARCOS Dáriusz Kozma
Wiener Festwochen, Vídeň / Vienna, Rakousko / Austria; Theater Oberhausen, Německo / Germany; La Rose des Vents, Lille, Francie / France; Maillon, Théâtre de Strasbourg / Scene européenne, Francie / France; Dům moderních umění Trafó / Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Budapešť / Budapest, Maďarsko / Hungary; HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Německo / Germany; HELLERAU – Evropské umělecké cetrum / European Center for the Arts, Drážďany, Německo / Dresden, Germany; Wiesbaden Biennale, Německo / Germany
KUBIK Coworking, Kryolan City, Open Casting, PP Business Centre -Budapest, VisionTeam
Premiere April 27th, 2016
// Awards //
Best stage design: Márton Ágh - Hungarian Theatre Critics Award 2016.
Best writing and dramaturgy: Kata Wéber and Soma Boronkay - 17th National Theatre Festival 2017. Pécs, Hungary. Best stage design: Márton Ágh - 17th National Theatre Festival 2017, Pécs, Hungary. Audience Award - Baltic House Festival 2017. Saint Petersburg, Russia
// Author //
KORNEL MUNDRUCZÓ (1975) Director, screenwriter and actor of both theatre and film. 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; Month of Jupiter, 2017) and won various film awards. Since 2003, he has also worked for the stage, with Krétakör theatre, the National Theatre of Hungary, Thalia Theatre Hamburg and Schauspiel Hannover among others. The Pilsen festival hosted his Hungarian production of Sorokin’s The Ice in 2011. The festival has also presented his production of The Bat, which Mundruczó guest-directed in TR Warsaw, and the Hungarian version of Coetzee’s novel Disgrace. 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 //
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) 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.
// Press //
Kornél Mundruczó, renowned Hungarian director of stage and film, surprises us with his performance entitled Imitation of life. Instead of the accustomed violence and provocation onstage, he offers quiet and intimate glimpses into the fates of individuals.
– Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
The face as a battleground, the rented flat as a microscope, the stage as a magnifying glass – the theatrical art of Kornél Mundruczó reflects out societal relations on a small scale, using sharp outlines. This makes Imitation of life a poetic and political event in one.
– Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany
The excellent set, designed by Márton Ágh, is convincing in every portion of the play. Its rotation, which gives rise to chaos and disorder, is a graphic metaphor for this restless and chaotic period, in which many of our lives are turned upside down when firm points of reference are lost.
Kornél Mundruczó and his amazing group of five actors portray Kafkaesque situations in a rundown old building, where the setting is partly projected, partly onstage. (...) The audience rewards them with loud applause after this deep and dense evening of despair, violence and discrimination, taking place at the edge of European society.
– Hamburger Abendblatt, Germany
It is a reserved but harsh study of the origins of brutality.
– Menu faktura, Lithuania
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