Disgrace - The novel by J. M. Coetzee shows a true picture of the era we live in, even though the story is about David Lurie, a professor of romantic literature from Cape Town, and it takes place in the far Republic of South Africa after apartheid. The novel breaks the barriers created by the lines of forces of local society, and is able to show our big European questions with sharp precision. The story shows the mutual fears and problems that we all deal with on a continent obviously facing big rearrangements. In David’s character we get to know a white African, an always privileged snobbish intellectual, who loses his power and every point of reference in the new social system. David’s fall is also the fall of a world that allows the colonizer white people not to deal with their past and the consequences of their deeds even after several hundred years. It is also a warning for the future collapse of the European world, in which we all were brought up and that we all know so well. A stranger knocks on David Lurie’s door and he has no choice but to let him in. But when he opens the door, a new structure of the world is revealed to him, one which he has no answers for. With the rise of the masses and the oppressed, David loses everything. However in a strange way in the midst of his biggest dispossession, he finds the gift of freedom.
// Awards //
Best direction: Kornél Mundruczó, Best stage design: Márton Ágh - 13th National Theatre Festival 2013. Pécs, Hungary
// Credits //
Director: Kornél MUNDRUCZÓ
Dramaturg: Viktória PETRÁNYI
Set, costume: Márton ÁGH
Music: János SZEMENYEI
Assistant director: Zsófia CSATÓ
Producer, production manager: Dóra BÜKI
Actors: Annamária LÁNG, Lili MONORI, Diána Magdolna KISS, Gergely BÁNKI, Zsombor JÉGER, Roland RÁBA, János SZEMENYEI, B. Miklós SZÉKELY, Sándor ZSÓTÉR
Opened 17th May 2012 Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, Austria
Running time 2 hrs
// Author //
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. The Pilsen festival hosted his Hungarian production of Sorokin’s The Ice in 2011. Last year the festival presented the production The Bat, which Mundruczó guest-directed in TR Warsaw. 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) and Dementia (2013) – they wish to provide space for the realisation of the company members’ ideas. The latest performances of the company are Last, directed by Roland Rába (2014) and 1 Link, directed by Gergely Bánki (2015). Proton Theatre performances have toured to more than 70 festivals over the years, including the Avignon Festival, Adelaide Festival, Singapore International Festival, Seoul Bo:m Festival and the Züricher Theaterspektakel.
// Press //
Kornél Mundruczó always works with strong effects. Sometimes he directs scenes that are difficult to watch. He sticks our noses into the cruelty of the world.
Gábor Bóta, Népszava
Mundruczó loves dense, concentrated pictures on a stage with plenty of props. This makes his direction intriguing.
This performance full of Brechtian V-effects (songs, addressing the public, etc.), brilliant associations and gags is basically true to the novel. (…) Mundruczó’s staging works with giant emotional amplitudes. It is totally brutal and rudely ordinary at the same time, as well as sensual, funny, absurd-grotesque and poetic. What the audience is left with are questions, this is not the theatre where upon leaving the audience learns a lesson. In this performance, which is strictly tied to the existence, there are no explanations but only situations and traps. The performance of Proton Theatre is alive in all its little details – especially in the Hungarian theatre landscape which can follow the nationalistic tendency towards sentimentalism, stupidity, compromise and spiritual laziness - this production stands out as courageous and particular. All episodes of “Disgrace” by Kornél Mundruczó are well-thought-out and elaborate. Every element of the performance contains great rhythm, for instance the „cinemascope” set of Márton Ágh, the musical collage of the finely sung „Nessun dorma” („None shall sleep”) by János Szemenyei, the dramaturgy of Viktória Petrányi and the teamwork of the actors – all are honorable, quality work.
Krisztina Horeczky, HVG