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A Day in a Dictator’s Life

2 minute read
JAN STOJASPAL

It may be 15 years since the reviled Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed by firing squad, but their ghosts linger on. The couple has been the subject of several books, TV programs and documentaries. Now, Ceausescu’s 25-year rule has been put onstage: A Day in the Life of Nicolae Ceausescu opened in February at the Teatrul Mic (Small Theater) in Bucharest to sell-out crowds and positive reviews. The play mocks the Ceausescus’ megalomania and drive for absolute power, but it also makes the point that, for better or worse, the despised couple put Romania on the map. “Then, as now, Ceausescu is 404 Not Found

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nginx/1.14.0 (Ubuntu) the brand of this country,” says Denis Dinulescu, who wrote the script in 1994 but only now found someone to stage it.

A Day in the Life opens during the couple’s early years, when Nicolae was a humble shoemaker and Elena sold seeds at the Bucharest market, then traces the Ceausescus’ rise to power and infamy. One lavish scene re-enacts the staged mass rallies they were so fond of organizing; another emphasizes the presence of the secret police, the dreaded Securitate, in every aspect of daily life. Those who lived in Ceausescu’s police state “feel sad watching the play,” says Dinulescu. For those too young to remember, though, it’s a vaudeville treatment of history that’s packed with good music and lots of comedy. Finally, Romanians are having the last laugh. tel: (40-21) 314 70 81; www.teatrulmic.ro

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