The Frankenstein Project

Bárka Theatre, Budapest, Hungary, 2008
Author: Kornél Mundruczó, Yvette Bíró
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó

about the production

In dwelling metal containers there is an audition taking place for a low-budget film. This place was chosen by director Viktor who shoots a film inspired by the Biblical story of Abraham and his son. In the containers lives his old friend Viktoria with her husband and daughter and has a snack bar there. Various people from the street meet at the audition. They hope they can be given a chance to play in a film. To change their life. The main role finally goes to a silent, timid boy. Victor is fascinated by him. And a horror story full of bizarre characters can start…

Kornél Mundruczó – a well-known Hungarian film and theatre director – wrote the play The Frankenstein Project together with Yvette Biró, who is signed also under their mutual screenplay to the film Delta. Theatre and film are a determining dramaturgical key in The Frankenstein Project: the core of the play is the shooting of the film, the production is built by intermingling of different practices of both arts and by it examines how theatre can react to the era influenced by different   kinds of media technologies.

Kornél Mundruczó showed that the using of video in theatre has not been exhausted yet. His directing processes in The Frankenstein Project are similar to the Castorf´s, but at the same time, they are quite original. While in his famous Berlin Volksbühne productions Frank Castorf left his audience outside the containers, he built constructions from them on the stage and the audience could look in them only through the eye of the camera (and through their imagination), Mundruczó turns the perspective and it is us who become the eye of the camera, we are the participants of the story seated inside the container. The production is exceptional also by its using of the space and perspective of the actors and the audience.

Important are also the issues concerning fiction, reality, art and entertainment. It is exactly this what is so fascinating about The Frankenstein Project – the playing with defocusing of the borders between something what is pretended and something considered real. It reminds us of the constant manipulation we are not aware of and which we are exposed to in our every-day life – newspapers, television, film, advertisement, the Internet… the gate to the virtual worlds where man is a product, artificial goods, same like the artificial being called Frankenstein, created by a doctor, and as a story, created by Marry Shelley at the beginning of the 19th century.

Mundruczó created his Project Frankenstein in the era of Baudrillardian simulation and hyper-reality where entertainment, information and communication technologies provide intensified experiences more than the every-day reality. Director Viktor says this in the opening part of the play quite clearly: “We are in the stage where we have to create a human. Like in a film which I am planning to make. It is essential to create man.” The media stimulation of reality is more real than the reality itself, and it is one of the reasons why has Mundruczó´s theatre such an intense effect on us.

The Frankenstein Project provokes by yet another thing. It shows us people from the margins of society. The main characters are people of the lowest social rank. In one moment we find ourselves in the containers together with those who have been (also by us) sent to the periphery. Suddenly they are not in a safe separation distance… How do we feel even though we know that all is but a fiction? Why do we feel uneasy when approaching the edge of something which has been defined as normal in our times?

As Hungarian critic László Sz. Deme well defined in his writing: “We are scared of certain streets, spaces, we are scared of certain neighbours because we do not understand inner motives of acting and situations of these strange beings. When in the end of the production the Boy hangs down some coats in the dressing room of the container and arrogantly asks the audience which coat is whose there is silence for a while. And it is not because of not paying attention.”

The Frankenstein Project received jury and audience awards at the 8th year of the POSZT Festival, one of the most important theatre events in Hungary.

Martina Vannayová


directed by Kornél Mundruczó
set and costume design: Márton Ágh
dramatist: Viktória Petrányi
play-arranger: Edina Kenesei
casting: Mária Boros, János György
assistant to director: Zsófia Tüű
performed by Lili Monori, Roland Rába, Kata Wéber, János Derzsi, Andrea Spolarics, Natasa Stork, Rudolf Frecska, Ágota Kiss


Kornél Mundruczó (1975)
Studied acting and later film and television directing. Later he worked as a film director, from 2003 he has worked also in theatre. He is the author of several awarded short and documentary films, his short film debut was Afta (Day after Day, 2001). In 2002, the film Pleasant Days brought him international recognition among critics as well as a number of awards such as the Prize for the best film at the 7th International Film Festival in Sofia or the ´02 European Film Award as Discovery of the Year. Many home and international awards he received also for his film works Delta (awarded this year at Cannes Film Festival) and Johana. When making Johana he met for the first time János Térey whose dramatic tetralogy The Nibelung Residential Park they produced in 2003 as a staged reading which gradually developed to its final form of four-hours long production by the Krétakör Ensemble.

Materials available

Script of the production: SK, EN

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