Nibelung Residency

Nibelung Residency
Opened: 23 October 2004 Cave Hospital
Running Time: 4 hrs with a brief interval

A Wagnerian myth revived in a contemporary setting: an exclusive residential community featuring businessmen, lawyers and models. Having fallen from the world of divine affluence, Hagen is trying to devise terrorist attacks to destroy his former business partners, his relatives and friends who have driven him out of the Paradise of money and power. But he is doomed to fail, just like the world he is fighting against. János Térey’s first play is much more than a Wagnerian world in modern garb; it is a study of today’s human condition and times, complete with heavy judgments: "The high society is caught in an ongoing battle for power and glory. But does this pretentious glamour world even still exist?" 

Kornél Mundruczó has teamed up with the company of Krétakör to prepare this première performance, shown at the out-of-use Sziklakórház (Cave Hospital) on the hillside at the Buda Castle.


Kornél Mundruczó, the director of the play: "Although I accepted Trafó’s commission, at the time I had no idea which actors I would work with. It was the middle of the season and it seemed practically impossible to find actors working in steady companies for it. I was thinking of engaging amateurs and had really no clue what to do. Krétakör came in the picture when I bumped into Árpád Schilling by chance and he asked me what I was working on. Nibelung Residency is a survival tour rather than a traditional theatre performance. I hope the four-hour long show will stir some waves in the Hungarian theatre and gives a slap in the face to the umpteenth version of The Seagull. (…) Térey’s piece is a text of a very special quality, but no proper play. It resembles The Tragedy of Man much more than to a traditional drama. It is so exhilarating that none of the linguistic laxity or imitation of real life so typical of contemporary Hungarian drama can be found in this play. That is what makes it so exciting and a real challenge. I would like to prove that this is no book drama, but a piece most apt for the stage.
I could not have cut it to an hour and a half just so that we can perform it in a loo next to the studio stage of a proper theatre. And I do not want people to say afterwards how interesting and how modern this show is. I try to use a kind of film logic and I would like the spectators to submerge in this kind of timelessness. They should not have the feeling that something is performed under their nose, they should feel that something is happening in front of their very eyes. Even if it is boring. We shall try use as many spaces as possible in this military hospital and a tour guide will walk with the spectators from scene to scene. (…) It may happen that someone falls asleep, but that is still a thousand times better than if they start thinking about the interval and whether they have tuna sandwich in the bar."

János Térey, the authour of the play: "This text combines the eloquence of the renaissance with the brutality of the ghetto-rap. I did not want to be either trendy or old-fashioned. Between these two worlds I tried to find a vivid language that makes a piece timeless. When planning the play, I wanted to recall the great poetic dramas of the world, like Faust, Peer Gynt or Mickiewicz’s wonderful poem Ancestors. I wanted to take a closer look at the order of the world.
Two years ago I was ready with the first draft and that is when I met Kornél. I think that was a very important encounter, for his remarks and thoughts influenced the final version to a great extent. He said already at that time that he wants to stage the piece at all costs and still, when I saw the rehearsals in May it was like a birthday present for me to see that my play was being performed by real actors.
It was as if a childhood dream had come true, although I had never even dared dream of this. Therefore I never had to need to interfere with the staging in any way. I allowed the director complete freedom and we agreed at the very beginning that I won’t shed tears if he cuts some parts of the book."

From the reviews

"The show directed by Kornél Mundruczó in the Cave Hospital is a subcultural event, which, however, does not diminish its value. At least someone performs the drama. What’s more: performs it well. The production has a reflective relationshop to the original. Hochdeutsch and high-tech are reflected in the tiles of this museum of reliquia. Instead of the ultrarich milieu of the top we are walking in underground canals. (…) This might be a modern allegory of the apocalypse of power and money, but I – with my fine scientific and aesthetic demands – would rather say it is a really fun show. One of the shortest and funniest I have ever seen." (Tamás Koltai - Élet és Irodalom)

"The production of the Krétakör Theatre is also a study of play-acting, which presents almost all determining elements of the European theatre tradition. It does not only re-interpret the Wagnerian myth, but it can also be regarded as a cosmonology of theatre language." (Gabriella Kiss - SZÍNHÁZ)

"There is not a true human being in Térey’s drama of humankind. Mundruczó does not want to speak to my intelligence, he wants to stir up my feelings and burn the passion of dissatisfaction, the horrified disgust (the subtitle of the last piece of the tetralogy is hate-talk), but also the fear of a blind devastation." (Hedvig Helmeczi - Balkon)

Festival invitations

-New Plays from Europe 2006. Wiesbaden, Germany

Siegfried - Zsolt NagyGunther - József GyabronkaBrünnhilde - Borbála PéterfyGutrune - Lilla SárosdiHagen - Roland RábaGerda - Annamária LángAlberich / Dankwart - Kálmán SomodyTruchs / Fafner / Compere - Gergely BánkiFrei / Photographer / Homeless / Bar Singer - Eszter CsákányiHeimdall / Volker - Péter SchererWoglinde / Flosshilde - Orsi TóthHomeless / Giseler / Paparazzo / Wulf - László KatonaGerenot / Fasolt / Wolfart / Gelfrat - Sándor TerhesTilo Werner - Tilo WernerMusician - Kristóf Darvas

The Budapest Autumn Festival, Trafó House of Contemporary Arts