21 march 2023



A guest performance of THE GREAT DICTATOR, based on the eponymous film by Charlie Chaplin and directed by Diego de Brea, produced by the Slovene National Theatre in Ljubljana, is scheduled for Thursday, 23rd March on the Ljuba Tadić stage of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre.

The production of The Great Dictator is based on one of the most important films by the renowned British film-maker Charlie Chaplin who wrote the script, directed and produced the film while appearing in two leading roles. The film was produced in the USA before America entered World War II.

Chaplin starred in two leading roles – as an anonymous barber of Jewish descent and as the doppelgänger of Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomania. This was Chaplin’s first talkie and in it one gets to hear his voice. Through an ingenious use of new film technology, Chaplin’s dictator speaks in an invented parody of a language interspersed with bona fide German and English words. This is why, even though he uses incomprehensible words, we clearly understand his body language when addressing the masses.

When playing the barber Hinkel, Chaplin develops his signature role of the Tramp by not merely reproducing it but by adapting it to the new political context. In his inimitable way, Chaplin does not use the new technology as something fashionable but endows the Tramp with a voice. Thus, what was so typical for this character in silent films turns him into a character who needs to speak in order to be heard.

The film is a satirical comedy, aimed at mocking Adolf Hitler and National Socialism, parodying Mussolini, Goebbels and Göring. His critique was so harsh that many countries refused to show the film in cinemas until they had gone to war with Germany. Although criticised after the war for making fun of such a serious subject such as Nazism, Chaplin said that he never would have made the film had he been aware of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis in concentration camps.

While watching The Great Dictator we simultaneously experience a sense of foreboding, a warning, but at the same time recognise its sense of parody.