Hunting Scenes from Lower Bavaria

National Theatre, Budapest, Hungary, 2011
Author: Martin Sperr
Directed by Róbert Alföldi

about the production

It seems that two years after the war and the currency reform, life in the lower Bavarian village is finally improving and getting stabilised. The old has been swept away into oblivion and everything, which is coming from the outside and does fit the outwardly polished circumstances, is received with mistrust and suspicion by the villagers.

Martin Sperr (1944 – 2002) wrote the play Hunting Scenes from Lower Bavaria in 1965 and immediately, already as a young theatre debutant, became famous with it. In 1968 Peter Fleischmann shot a film of the same title, where Martin Sperr played the main role.

The play is part of a trilogy (Jagdszenen aus Niederbayern, Landshuter Erzählungen, Münchner Freiheit) written in the traditions of the social-critical popular theatre, which had its renaissance in the German speaking countries in the 1960’s and which has re-discovered also the work of Marieluise Fleisser and established a link to the work of the well known playwright (also in Slovakia) Ödön von Horváth.

With his impressive stage production Róbert Alföldi shows that the topics Martin Sperr is dealing with in his play are still topical. The play is a metaphor of a society in which a group of people is hunting others.  It is a world of the persecutors and the persecuted and the “stronger“ have only one goal – to exclude from their midst everyone who does not fit their idea of „normality“. Róbert Alföldi and his excellent actors have created an exceptionally topical picture of intolerance, especially in view of the present political situation in Hungary and elsewhere in Europe. His production is about the fact that bigot, pseudo-Christian values, as well as nationalistic and fascist thinking, are today more present and spread than one would expect. All those “abnormal“ and minor, „others“ are becoming inconvenient and disturb the rules and truths stated by the majority. They are a striking reminder of the fact that security can be doubtful and the world and life cannot be exclusively controlled. Neither Sperr nor Alföldi, however, divide the characters into “good“ and “evil“, the potential of a hunter as well as that of a victim is present in every man. Alföldi, as a director, is probably more interested in the differences in people – shown in their convictions, values, natures and the extent to which they are able and willing to overcome these differences in a human way.   He is asking himself questions: “what is it that divides and connects individual people, how is a team spirit created, what is it that provokes hatred in people and how different ideologies ´help´ individual, suppressed anxieties and aggressions to be released and discharged in a quasi legitimate way?“

Róbert Alföldi has found a specific site for his play – in the National Theatre in Budapest the performance is played in the test room. The space for acting has been adjusted in such a way that the viewer is not sitting in the darkness of the auditorium, but rather, is a direct participant of the action, as a silent, collective witness of the brutal circumstances of the story. The director lets the viewer sit in the full light and in the middle of the theatrical space, thereby making him more active and disturbed and, indirectly, “jointly liable“ for the course of the evening. By not allowing the viewer a distance, peace and anonymity to which he is normally used in the theatre (especially such as the national, with all its connotations), he expects a more active approach from him. He creates an imaginary dialogue and leaves the viewer to start searching for the answers which are even more imperatively present when a play is staged in this way.
Martina Vannayová

“Róbert Alföldi’s direction goes beyond the usual clichés. Its ruthless honesty acquires a brutal cathartic power.”
Gyula Balogh, Népszava

“Director Róbert Alföldi entrusted the role to András Stohl, who plays a man standing at a crossroad, wishing to accept himself. His has already been punished, even served a prison sentence, on account of his attraction to men, and now the residents of the village intend to punish him. Question: Should he accept himself, or hide his nature and try to adapt to the small hamlet? The latter is not possible (the others do not give him a chance), and the former leads to tragedy. Stohl portrays this dramatic and inescapable trap perfectly.”
István Nánay,



directed by Róbert Alföldi
translation: Perczel Enikő
set design: Menczel Róbert, Lovass Ágnes
costumes: Daróczi Sándor
dramaturgy: Perczel Enikő, Vörös Róbert
prompter: Gróf Kati
assistant of director: Kolics Ágota
characters and cast: Barbara: Molnár Piroska, Abram, her son: Stohl András, Tonka: Tompos Kátya, Mária: Básti Juli, Rovo, her son: Farkas Dénes, Volker, Mária‘s attendant: Szarvas József, Major: Sinkó László, Georg: Hevér Gábor, Zenta: Murányi Tünde, Butcherin: Péterfy Bori, Franzi, her son: Ducsai Ábel, Csonti: Hollósi Frigyes, Paula: Söptei Andrea, Gerlits Réka, Konrád, her son: Závodi Marcell, Priest: Földi Ádám


Róbert Alföldi (1967) graduated from the Theatre and Film School in Budapest in acting. He became an actor – protagonist of the youngest generation at one of the most famous Hungarian theatres Vígszínház.  As an actor he played the roles of: Figaro, Richard III, Macbeth, Raskolnikov, Romeo, Orin, Amadeus and others. Since 1995 he has been devoting his time to theatre direction. His plays were staged at festivals in the Czech Republic, Romania, Germany and were awarded several local theatre distinctions. He participated in Divadelná Nitra with his plays A Seagull (1997), The Merchant of Venice (1998), Storm (1999) and Hamlet (2001) put on by the ensemble of Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra).

His work is often a topic of discussion, due to his unconventional, progressive, artistic procedures. In 2000 he went free-lance and worked in television. He was also invited to work as a director abroad: Slovakia, the U.S., the Czech Republic. With his staging of Hamlet (DAB Nitra) he obtained an invitation to BITEF festival in Serbia. Recently he started directing operas. In 2006 – 2008 he was the artistic director of the Bárka Theatre and, since then, the artistic director of the National Theatre. The importance of his artistic creation has been confirmed by several distinctions, including The Prize for the Best Production at the 11th national drama festival „POSzT –Theatre Festival Pécs 2011“ (Hunting Scenes from Lower Bavaria).

Materials available

Script of the production: SK

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