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Make Me a Coffin For HimTragic Cheerful Puppet Performance, length 30 min

Make Me a Coffin For Him, foto Jaka Varmuž
The play Make Me a Coffin for Him from 1993 represents an anthology of the nineties, since it features, as Barbara Orel wrote, "primal iconography, infernal content and demonic energy; it is, in a word—diabolical."

Directed by Jan Zakonjšek and featuring visual design by Silvan Omerzu, its mastery and freshness sliced right through the world of Slovenian puppetry, which at the time was saturated with adorably wholesome educational children's productions. It rediscovered hand puppetry, a dynamic and comedic form that was severely neglected at that time, bringing it back in all its glory through Brane Vižintin and Boštjan Sever's animation. The performers managed to accomplish the most important objectives of commedia dell'arte: perfection in animation, interpretation and singing performances.

"The play was produced using modern approaches, but it also managed to capture the zeitgeist, so for a small puppet play, it was a great success," said Silvan Omerzu about the play, many years ago. Both the audiences and puppetry experts were thrilled by the comical violence with lots of somersaults, flying through the air and other superb animation achievements, as well as grotesque elements, direct and crude humour and obscenity. It was therefore almost a given that presentation of this play, set-up permanently at the Museum of Puppetry, would represent the last stop in the chronological display of the development of puppetry in Slovenia—the set of the permanent exhibition ends with the aesthetic and organisational "explosion" of the nineties.

Twenty-five years and more than a hundred performances later, the play is returning to the puppet stage. Brane Vižintin and Boštjan Sever will once again take on the roles of the Innkeeper, the Carpenter, the Jew, the Jewess, the Devil, and Death.

This tragicomedy traces its origin to the well-known Czech tradition of "rakvičkarna"—a farce that revolves around a coffin—which is a type of puppet play that features an abundance of slaps, gags, punches, chases and situational surprises; the puppet is free to make fun of the dead, the authorities, women, and last but not least, the audience.

Make Me a Coffin for Him is a politically incorrect play about evil manifested in the form of the innkeeper, who uses a variety of tools to kill everything and everyone coming his way until he eventually ends up in the cold embrace of the Grim Reaper—Death—the mistress he had been seeking throughout the play.

Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana and Umetniško društvo Konj
Director: Jan Zakonjšek
Visual Design: Silvan Omerzu
Cast: Brane Vižintin, ft. Boštjan Sever, ft. Damjan Vahtar (Accordian)
Translation and Adaptation: Silvan Omerzu
Songs: Andrej Rozman Roza
Music: Ernö Sebastian
Vodja predstave: Luka Bernetič
Lights: Maša Avsec
Set Technician: Iztok Vrhovnik
Puppets, costumes and set production: Silvan Omerzu, Daša Simčič, Marina Hrovatin