Performed 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 April 2005 at St. James Cavalier Valletta
Directed by Thomas Schendel
With Irene Christ & Paul Portelli
Marlene: the Woman behind the Legend
When filmmaker Josef von Sternberg was asked if he intended to wed Marlene Dietrich, his protégée and lover, he admitted, “I'd as soon share a telephone booth with a frightened cobra.”
Although married only once (to Rudolf Sieber) Dietrich boasted such lovers as: Maurice Chevalier, Douglas Fairband Jr, George Raft, Jean Gabin, Yul Brynner, Erich Maria Remarque, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Edith Piaf, Edward R. Murrow, John F. Kennedy, Joe DiMaggio, John Gilbert and Mercedes de Acosta.
‘I don’t know how my mother managed to have all these affairs without one of her lovers ever moving in at her house’ her daughter says. ‘I am quite unknowing in the field of physical love’, Marlene claims. ‘Physical love in my life has always been connected with love, and only love.’
Marlene Dietrich remains one of the world’s most adored Divas, and Actinghouse Productions brought director Thomas Schendel to Malta to direct an evening of stories and songs about and by Marlene and her friends and lovers.
The evening captures the more humane and not always glamorous side of Marlene and much of the script is based on her own autobiography and a biography written by her often-suffering daughter Maria Riva. Also excerpts from Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Very Short Story’, Noel Coward’s ‘Design for Living’, and a love letter from Erich Maria Remarque to Marlene make up parts of the evening. Some of the stories capture the atmosphere of the 30ies and 40ies… for example a scene about a glamorous party given to celebrate the destruction of the word, when in 1938 the rumour was spread that planet Mars was to collide with the Earth… as beautifully described by Marlene’s daughter Maria Riva.
Marlene’s androgynous sex appeal makes her one of the most sultry and empowered actresses of the 1900s. People loved her for supporting the allies against the Nazis by giving shows at the front in WW2. The songs Christ and Portelli present are ‘Falling in Love Again’, ‘Lili Marlene’, ‘As Time Goes By’, ‘One For My Baby, One For The Road’ amongst others.
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