The Ice

“Few have understood me as well as you do, especially in the theatre.”

Vladimir Sorokin upon seeing Mundruczó’s Ice

Ice was originally produced by the Krétakör Theatre at Trafó, House of Contemporary Arts in 2006. Today this is the only production of the original Krétakör ensemble still on repertory, albeit with some changes in the cast, at the National Theatre in Budapest which invited the show to be the first opening under the new artistic management of Róbert Alföldi in 2008. Despite the fact that extreme right activists, who have a loud voice in today’s Hungary, denounce the show none of them have seen as perverse and unworthy of the National Theatre, this brilliant and brutal portrayal of the modern-day underworld remains one of the most highly acclaimed shows - in both the critical and popular sense in any state theatre. When the author saw this production directed by one of Hungary’s most successful young filmmakers, he offered him to do anything of his he wanted to.

Moscow as the hunting-ground of a mysterious sect, a brotherhood of light, whose members are searching for other brothers and sisters. It is their plan to re-order a Creation that has gone sour. For this, however, 23,000 light brothers and light sisters must first be found. Vladimir Sorokin and Kornél Mundruczó present East European everyday life as a lonely struggle for survival and as the totalitarian dream of a superior élite.
But it isn’t only the director’s unique take on theatre or the exceptional ensemble performance so well known from Krétakör that makes this show so memorable. Both in film and theatre Mundruczó has been working with the same creative team since the beginning of his career, including his confidente Viktória Petrányi, who serves as dramaturg on most theatre plays and as his producer in films, was a key creative force with Ice. Originally the team planned on doing an early Sorokin, The Four Hearts, but a week before the first rehearsal his agent pulled the permission granted earlier. The set was ready and the date of the opening night announced.

The ensemble had four weeks to come up with a full-blown show of something for a given set. Petrányi and Mundruczó picked Ice and started working on the adaptation, while the director was also starting rehearsals parallelly.  If it weren’t also for an exceptionally strong creative bond with set- and costume-designer Márton Ágh, this project could never have ended up as one of the most revelative, thought-provoking and deeply moving works to be seen on Hungarian stages today. Ágh was also Schilling’s permanent collaborator, responsible for the gigantic pink children’s playroom of BLACKland with its unforgettably disproportionate symbolic white doors.

Mundruczó’s photorealistic spaces of Frankenstein, The Ice and It’s Hard To Be a God require an entirely different gift from the designer, but Ágh seems to possess that unique talent for both the realistic and the symbolic, the small detail and the grand beauty.

International tours

Perm International Festival - 2010
Wiener Festwochen - 2010
Sarajevo, MESS 2009
Kontakt Festival, Torun 2009
Festspille i Bergen - 2007