Kaisers TV, Ungarn

Béla Pintér and Company, Budapest, Hungary, 2014
Directed by Béla Pintér

about the production

Director Béla Pintér is one of the unique, provocative and remarkably original Hungarian directors of the middle generation. The spectators of Divadelna Nitra could get a proof of it already twice: in 2007, he staged in Nitra The Queen of the Cookies, and in 2010, Muck, always with a huge success.

What creates the attractiveness of his original theatre in which he is not just the director but also one of the actors and the author of the texts? It is a mixture of unique stories; a unique directing with a well harmonized group of actors intertwining sarcasm and humour with tragedy and sadness; a simple stage design, often intentionally bordering with kitsch; and a critical approach to past and present of the Hungarian society. Béla Pintér has a gift to reflect with his fictional stories the social circumstances, the mentality of ordinary country people, the influence of the pseudo-morals of the Church and of the political national ideologies upon the life of the Hungarians. However, he doesn’t do that realistically, but with a large amount of caricature, unexpected scenic metaphors, irony and fantasy.

In Kaisers TV, Ungarn – an extraordinarily witty political slapstick – although he takes as his target the Hungarian history, it serves him only to reveal that part of the Hungarian present which is not a flattering reflection of its past. Nationalism, twisting the history, national myths, fantasies about national heroes – these are all themes often processed also by other Hungarian artists who disagree with the contemporary political activity in Hungary. But Béla Pintér is occupied with these themes continually and systematically; he always sets them into a different context and time frame, and with his sarcastic humour he goes within an inventive and complicated story right to the core of national myths and memories.

Amália, the daughter of a fictional protagonist of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and a national martyr count Ignácz Baráznay, needs to go back into the past because of her inheritance, and she does it with the help of hypnosis. She finds out how things really were with her father, and thanks to her presence, the history starts to “change“. What if the Hungarians won the battle at Schwechat in 1848, lead by the revolutionary Hungarian army against Austria? How would history look like if there was already television at that time? An imperial emperors TV, taken over by the revolutionists? The story is full of witty scenes, fictional plots, unexpected twists and turns, but also the real events and characters – for example, famous Hungarian poet and revolutionist Sándor Petöfi (played with humour and elegance by Béla Pintér himself) or revolutionist Lajos Kossuth.

Besides the brilliant criticism of historical forgetfulness and Hungarian present days, the production is interesting because it is playful, funny and sharply witty. Its currentness reaches beyond the Hungarian borders – well, the Kaisers TV would be surely watched also by our ancestors here on the Slovak territory. Pintérs political slapstick is a part of our common Hungarian history. We in Slovakia also like to rewrite and forget...

The production won the award in the 2011/2012 season as the best production of the Hungarian independent theatre.
Martina Vannayová

“The drama entitled Kaisers TV, Ungarn (in which “TV” is pronounced in the German way as “tay-fow”) is a many layered, highly inspiring and sparkling play showing Pintér’s theatre at its best. And they make their audience (a reference to the Hungarians’ traditional way of grieving:) rejoice by crying, as well as ´recry by joicing´. (...)”
Andrea Stuber, Theatre online, 2011

The three drama plots – each played within different historical time frames yet interwoven into one – tell us more than laborious academic studies about Hungary’s history as well as the Hungarian temperament which have not changed much until now. What the production, without any attempt to be respectful, puts on stage is the very 19th century events that have most frequently been referred to in Hungary over the last two decades (i. e. since the Communist regime ended and a republic was announced in 1990).”
László Zappe, Népszabadság



written and directed by Béla Pintér
dramaturgy: Enyedi Éva
assistant director: Hajdú Rozi
music: Kéménczy Antal
costumes: Benedek Mari
costume designer assistant: Kiss Julcsi
set design: Tamás Gábor
light: Varga László
sound: Simon István
video: Vella Péter
economic co-worker: Inhaizer Gyula
production: Hidvégi Anna
characters and cast: Amália: Enyedi Éva, Gróf Baráznay Ignácz: Mucsi Zoltán, Elza: Szamosi Zsófia, Balázs Gábor: Friedenthal Zoltán, Rozi: Hajdú Rozi, Lágyvölgyi, Dombor Panka: Szalontay Tünde, Üregi Szidónia: Stefanovics Angéla, Lajos: Thuróczy Szabolcs, Sándor: Pintér Béla, Marián Kornél: Terhes Sándor, Rohácsi Úr: Quitt László, Sárközy: Kéménczy Antal


Béla Pintér (1970) – artist, director, singer, music composer, writer, one of the most interesting figures of the contemporary Hungarian theatre. He started as a dancer and performer in the foremost experimental theatre groups at Theatre Szkéné in Budapest which was in the 80ies and 90ies the only Budapest space supporting collaboration with experimental theatre and dance in western and middle Europe. In 1998, he has founded the independent ensemble Bela Pinter and Company, which operates outside of the traditional theatre structures and in spite of that is one of the most important components of the theatre world in Hungary.

“For several years, their productions pointed out different sensitive social problems, e.g., healthcare, religious sects, etc., using dramatic texts by Pinter. These were based on fictional stories and non-fictional social phenomena, addressing subjects such as traditions; dependence on ideologies, drugs or the newest self-distracting trends; the complex nakedness of those living in the lowest one-third of the population, of those living in the small villages, of those keeping to traditions in religion, in life-style, in manners. Bela Pinter, leader of the company, is always the one who writes and directs the productions, and he is also one of the actors. The tone is always sarcastic-ironic, mixing comical and tragic elements with the surreal and the absurd. (Judit Csaki, 2012)

Materials available

Video of the production: yes
Script of the production: EN

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