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Maribor Theatre Festival — Archive 2010 - 2016

Ernst Lubitsch

When I Was Dead

When I Was Dead <em>Photo: Tone Stojko</em>

Photo: Tone Stojko

SNG Drama Ljubljana
23. 10. 2010, 21.30 // STARA DVORANA - TRIBUNA
Running time 1 hour 15 minutes. No interval.

11. 3. 2010 Mala drama, SNG Drama Ljubljana

Director Diego de Brea
Set designer Diego de Brea
Costume designer Bjanka Adžić Ursulov
Composer Jože Šalej
Lighting designer Milan Podlogar

Husband Alojz Svete
Wife, Maid Janez Škof
Mother-in-law Jernej Šugman
Suitor, Chess player Boris Mihalj
Pianist Jože Šalej / Davor Herzeg

When I Was Dead is based on the story of a husband who announces his suicide and then disappears but only to reappear in disguise. Lubitsch’s hero is a frivolous bon vivant, who likes to sneak out in the evening to play chess with his jovial mates. This annoys his wife but bothers his mother-in-law even more. One day (actually in the middle of the night), she locks him out, and the unfortunate husband has to spend the night in the hallway on the uncomfortable staircase. The next day he announces his intention to commit suicide and disappears. But instead of dying, he goes out to taste again the freedom of the bachelor life. However, while "the widow" is in mourning, the husband becomes tired of idling about. He returns to the wife he still loves disguised as a butler. But his mother-in-law is already looking for a new husband for her daughter and even brings one home. The false butler does everything to spoil the efforts of the suitor, to mock him, to seduce his wife again, and, fi nally, to get rid of the annoying mother-in-law. Unusual situations, expressive acting, accentuated facial expressions, gags, and title cards are standard elements of silent burlesque movies. On stage, however, they take on a completely new appearance. But they are just as amusing as they were in the era of silent fi lms.