Disappearing into the play
Outstanding Male Actor 2015
Robert Hunger-Bühler was born in Thurgau in 1953 and trained as an actor from 1970 to 1974 at the Schauspielakademie Zürich (now the Zurich University of the Arts). He also studied drama and philosophy in Vienna. He has worked as an actor and director in Vienna, Bonn, Düsseldorf and Freiburg. Other stations in his career have included the Freie Volksbühne Berlin, the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, the Berliner Ensemble and the Burgtheater Vienna. He has worked with directors including Jossi Wieler, Frank Castorf, Andrea Breth, Claus Peymann, Luc Bondy, Stefan Pucher, Johan Simons, Klaus Michael Grüber, Barbara Frey and Christoph Marthaler. He played Mephisto in Peter Stein’s legendary Faust project for Expo 2000 in Hanover. He has been a member of the ensemble at the Schauspielhaus Zürich since the 2002/03 season.
Hunger-Bühler’s roles at the Schauspielhaus Zürich have included Danton in “Dantons Tod” directed by Christoph Marthaler. He has also played Richard III, Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice”, Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman”, and Hamm in Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame”, all directed by Stefan Pucher, and has appeared as Michel in Johan Simons’ version of Houellebecq’s “Atomised”. Most of these performances have also been staged at the Berliner Theatertreffen. As director, he has been responsible for “Alles ist zu ertragen, nur nicht Überglücklichkeit” (Robert Walser), and “Oblomov” at the Schauspielhaus Zürich. He has also taken part in numerous film and TV productions, such as “Giacomo Casanova”, “Unter dir die Stadt” (shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010), “Die Akte Grüninger” and “Tatort”. A volume of his haikus entitled “Herzschlag – Zeit” was published by Edition Howeg in 2012.
“Actors are voyagers of the soul. Day after day, they demonstrate that there is no barrier between what a human being wants to be and what they actually are. Actors must always lose themselves in order to find themselves again. Perhaps for that reason the actor is a kind of Don Juan of discovery. Robert Hunger-Bühler is just such a Don Juan. He struts and frets his hour upon the stage, from moment to moment, heartbeat to heartbeat. He has been doing this for over 30 years – and says that what matters is not so much showing as disappearing. For the outstanding moments of theatre that he bestows upon the audience through that disappearance, Robert Hunger-Bühler receives this year’s Outstanding Male Actor award.”
Mathias Balzer, jury member