Follow Us on Twitter

Dead at Last, No More Air - Camden People's Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

JUST a Must is presenting Dead at Last, No More Air at Camden People’s Theatre – from May 6 to May 17, 2014.

This English language premiere of a forgotten European masterpiece, the final work of Werner Schwab, marks two decades since the great Austrian playwright’s untimely death.

Werner Schwab (1958-1994), the undisputed star of German-speaking theatre, effortlessly rose to fame for his unique talent with language and his macabre, humorous, confrontational narratives. In only four years, he completed fifteen plays.

Dead at Last, No More Air (Endlich tot, endlich keine luft mehr) was his last. In 1994, shortly after its completion, he was found dead in his room following a New Year’s Eve drinking spree. He was only 35.

Dead at Last, No More Air, also known as a “theatre-extinction comedy”, is described as a brutal, irreverent and bizarrely comical piece about what happens when an emerging theatre production is sabotaged by outsiders.

Following a dispute with the cast, the director replaces all the actors with pensioners from a nearby home for the elderly. At first compliant and polite, the ‘forgotten and dispossessed’ gradually start to question the director’s authority, leading to a ‘coup d’état’ where the theatre’s cleaning lady is selected as the group’s leader. Not everybody survives the new order.

Director Vanda Butkovic said: “Death at Last, No More Air is a comedy that puts a magnifying glass to the world of theatre in order to explore its relationship to reality and to power. Staging a Werner Schwab play in London is anything but an easy option for our company. Although renowned in the German speaking theatre world, he is virtually unknown in the UK.

“Nevertheless, I am certain that the play’s uncompromising critique of politics and culture expressed through Schwab’s distinct, biting humour and linguistic dexterity, will resonate with UK audiences and will offer a refreshing alternative perspective to the body of work performed in the current theatrical landscape.”

Produced by Berislav Juraic, Dead at Last, No More Air is translated by Meredith Oakes, with design by Simon Donger, dramaturgical support by Diana Damian Martin and lighting by Ana Vilar.

The cast includes Ingrid Evans, Jeremy Hancock, Denise Heinrich-Lane, Ben Hood, Tom Jacobs, Andrew McKenzie, Niall Murray and Delia Remy.

Just a Must was founded by producer Berislav Juraic and director Vanda Butkovic to introduce post-dramatic theatre in translation to British and international audiences. The company’s work focuses on showcasing exciting authors who have generally been neglected in the British and international performing arts arena.

Previous productions include the English language premiere of Sports Play (2012 – 2014) by Elfriede Jelinek (UK and international tour), the UK premiere of Woman Bomb (2011) by Ivana Sajko (Tristan Bates Theatre) and the first revival of Holy Mothers by Werner Schwab (2009). The company also co-produced Tom Lyall’s Defrag_ at Camden People’s Theatre.

Dead at Last, No More Air is suitable for ages 12+.

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7419 4841 or online at www.cptheatre.co.uk/.

Time: Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30pm.

Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

NB: Dead at Last, No More Air will also be performed at The Warren, Brighton from May 30 to June 1, 2014.