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Professor Bernhardi

by Arthur Schnitzler


At the Royal Elisabethinum, a medical clinic, a girl is dying, but she is not aware that she has only minutes to live. The director, Professor Bernhardi, wants to spare her the truth, so he forbids the priest from administering the patient’s last rites. The girl dies.

The affair comes to light and immediately swells into a scandal. Bernhardi finds himself at the centre of professional and political battles. The matter becomes a pretext which the press swallows. Then, the Health Minister and the Parliament join the debate. Politics boils down the moral question to a criminal case against the physician of Jewish origin, and individual costructions take the place of fact.

Arthur Schnitzler’s play was immediately forbidden by the Viennese censor in 1912, and it remained banned until the collapse of the monarchy. In Berlin, however, it was presented in the year of its composition and spread from there to the greatest German stages, where it is regularly performed to this day. The Comedy Theatre (Vígszínház) of Budapest staged the first (and since then, the only) Hungarian production a quarter of a century ago.


Translated by Imre Kertész 


DR BERNHARDI, Professor of Internal Medicine, Director of the Elisabethinum Pál Mácsai
DR FLINT, Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Health László Gálffi
DR EBENWALD, Professor of Surgery, Assistant Director Anikó Für
DR CYPRIAN, Professor of Ophthalmology
István Znamenák
DR FILITZ, Professor of Gynaecology Imre Csuja
FRANZ REDER, Parish Priest at the Church of Saint Florian Zsolt Nagy
DR ADLER, Lecturer in Anatomical Pathology Csaba Polgár
COUNCILLOR WINKLER, in the Ministry of Education Attila Epres
DR LÖWENSTEIN, Lecturer in Paediatrics Nóra Diána Takács
HOCHROITZPOINTNER, Final year Medical Student Milán Vajda
DR TUGENDVETTER, Professor of Dermatology Csaba Debreczeny
DR WENGER, Tugendvetter’s Assistant Zsolt Máthé
DR GOLDENTHAL, Council for the Defence Kriszta Bíró
DR OSCAR BERNHARDI, Bernhardi’s Assistant Sebestyén László Szabó
DR FEUERMANN, General Practitioner in Oberhollabrunn Árpád Némedi
LUDMILLA, nurse Tünde Kókai


Set by Lili Izsák
Costume by Lili Izsák, Mária Glaser
Video by András Juhász
Dramaturg Barbara Ari-Nagy, Ildikó Gáspár
Music by Árpád Kákonyi
Prompter Zita Kanizsay
Stage Manager Zsolt Mózer
Assistant to the Director Ariadne Érdi


Directed by Tamás Ascher


Premiere: 27 March, 2015




"The subject of the piece: the complete absence of political correctness and social tolerance – including intrigues within a corrupt interest lobby and, above all, the concealed though obvious surge in anti-Semitism – is exposed anew in a 21st-century context. Pál Mácsai’s rich characterisation dominates the evening. His Bernhardi is self-centred, but without pretensions – an unbending man with a sure sense of his calling, together with a youthful physical and intellectual flexibility. By comparison, all the hidebound and obedient professors seem like pale-faced and dried-up fuddy-duddies after their apparent victory. Neither then nor at his two extremities is Bernhardi superficial. Mácsai plays a champion of honour in the everyday sense, in the body of an average man. He is not a heroic theme for sculptors to chisel, although his enemies are cognisant of his stature and his regard. Within the nuances of the actors’ uncommonly vibrant glances and gestures, we can perceive how stealthily they follow, “X-ray” and practically diagnose the developments."
Tamás Tarján /Színház.net

"Written in 1912, the play’s redeeming qualities are plain to see. Nor is it difficult to establish its burning topicality. It is a potential tinderbox. From time to time, it is as though we hear commentary upon our present situation, and the characters seem to embody this, which is occasionally disturbing. Yet, by all means, Pál Mácsai plays Bernhardi as a flesh-and-blood man – one with an unbending spine whose overriding (one could say stubborn) focus in life is his profession. He is not pleasant; rather, he is pragmatic. He does not bother much with the world around him; all his strength and knowledge are devoted to healing. He is devoted, not easy to bear, but undoubtedly an authority. Only, in this particular time and place, that is not necessarily most important. He is sacrificed through necessity, and thus, he is powerless to prevent his clinic’s disintegration and its falling into wrong hands. He cannot protect his allies, and yet, he is the only one who dares to say what he is thinking. No matter how great a scapegoat he becomes, he would like everyone to see how they have treated an innocent man. He is the brandished exclamation point, perhaps even a litmus test, indicating the scale of crime and betrayal. Tamás Ascher’s direction is a veritable sizing-up of humanity. We peer into the characters’ guts, which is often horrifying. Lili Izsák’s sterile white set, illuminated in harsh light, is already chilling. It is as though no love could flourish in this space. Perhaps only the unseen, deceased girl could truly love. Here interests and principles – or precisely the lack of principles – motivate everything."
Gábor Bóta / Népszava






by Ákos Badits, Balázs István Balázs




Bernhardi plakát kicsi


Plakátterv: Nagy Gergő



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2018. JÚNIUS 06.
19:00 Színházterem 2017