Hard to be a God

Breathtaking, East-European hardcore-reality theatre.

Der Standard

With his anything but charming characters performing in a hyper-realistic and intimate setting, the young Hungarian film and theatre director knew how to unsettle his audience. His explosive mix of professional and amateur actors triggers compassion, even though they play tough, shocking characters. Utter defencelessness is the basis of Mundruczó's latest production, which has premiered at the Kunsten Festival des Arts. The plot is borrowed from the Strugatsky brothers' sci-fi novel Hard To Be A God. This is also where the uncompromising director got his idea of a God who watches his creation from a distance, just as we avert our eyes from society's darker sides, such as human trafficking. By creating a staged reality show featuring real people on a real stage in a real van, Mundruczó raises a mirror to the audience: will they, god-like, keep watching from the sidelines? Or will they be moved to act?       


This production is one that you simply must see. It is a powerful portrayal of a horrible world that Mundruczó and his cast present in such a way that despite all your reservations you stay there and see it through. Fear, manipulation, dependency, hope, misfortune, indifference and stupidity have a shock effect, in places downright infuriating, but at every moment authentic. (...) All this, what is more, we can see in a performance by a wonderful cast.


Mundruczó forces his audience to play God. The spectators look passively on the events taking place right before their eyes, events that are nastier and nastier. (...) The combination of the tableaux vivants on stage and the horrors projected on the screen shocks. Most of all because it confronts us with the fact that reality out there is in fact much crueller still. 

cobra.be, Belgium

Nudity, torture, intellectual terror and murder – Kornél Mundruczó confronts the spectator mercilessly with violence. (...) It may not be real blood that flows on stage, but watching this reality-show hurts. (...) Moments of sentimental yearning emerge in the musical interludes, when the actors in the lorry begin to make music with anything that comes to hand, be it a dustbin, an iron or a sewing machine.


Kornél Mundruczó's staging of Nehéz istennek lenni (It's hard to be a god) comes frighteningly close. A fantastic cast crosses the borderline between reality and illusion.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

International tours

Novart Festival, Theatre National de Bordeaux, France, 2010
KunstenFestivalDesArts, Brussels, Belgium, 2010
Alkantara Festival, Lisbon, Portugal, 2010
Theater der Welt, Essen, Germany, 2010
De Internationale Keuze, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2009
Upcoming festivals:
POT-Festival, Tallin, Estonia, 2011
Wiener Festwochen, Austria, 2011