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Ernst Lubitsch

When I Was Dead

(Als ich tot war)

First Slovene Production
Subscription-series guest performance
SNG Drama Ljubljana

De Brea will direct an adaptation of the film When I Was Dead, which the great German director made at the very beginning of his film career in 1916. Starring Lubitsch himself, the film is a burlesque, and had been long considered lost. It was rediscovered in Slovenia in 1994—among materials from the WWI Isonzo Front period—by Silvan Furlan and Lilijana Nedič, both staff members of the then-new Slovenian Cinematheque.The restored film was first screened the following year at the Silent Film Festival in Pordenone, Italy. When I Was Dead is based on the story of a husband who announces his suicide but then disappears; then he reappears, disguised as somebody else. In this burlesque film the plot develops differently from, for example, Pirandello’s famous novel The Late Mattia Pascal. Lubitsch’s hero is a frivolous bon vivant who likes to sneak out in the evenings to go to clubs to play chess amongst men.This annoys his wife, but bothers his mother-in-law even more. One day (actually 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 also 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; she 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, finally, 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.We expect that they will be just as amusing as they were in the era of silent films.


Director Diego de Brea
Costume designer Bjanka Adžić Ursulov
Set designer Diego de Brea
Composer Jože Šalej
Light designer Milan Podlogar
Alojz Svete Husband
Janez Škof Wife, Maid
Jernej Šugman Mother-in-law
Boris Mihalj Suitor, Chess player
Jože Šalej (guest appearance) Pianist


Opening 11th March 2010

Performance duration: 75 minutes. No interval.

From April 2012.


The Best Comedy Award and the Best Director Award for Diego de Brea at the Days of Comedy Theatre Festival in 2011.