An Ideal Husband

I won Best Director for my interpretation of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband at the Liepāja Theatre in 2002. Yet again I had the privilege of working with my friend, writer Andra Neiburga, who rendered a lithe translation of Wilde into Latvian, Ideāls vīrs. I re-visioned this comedy of corruption and politics by placing the events into a contemporary setting. The hapless politician at the centre of the story resembled a leading Latvian figure, Einārs Repše, and his wife, Lady Goring, was modeled on Hillary Clinton (before she ran for the presidency). My mise-en-scène began with a political fund-raising event on an artificial beach and ended in the anteroom of a television news studio.

The set, designed by artist Gints Gabrāns, was entirely inflatable, like a bouncy castle on a children’s playground. Stagehands could pick the whole structure up and move it forward, and it could suddenly, spectacularly, deflate. The witty costuming was by Liene Bartkeviča.

”The direction by Baņuta Rubess is remarkably precise and considered. [..] The director lets the play’s rather lengthy opening develop in the fantastically beautiful environment created with set designer Gints Gabrāns and costume designer Liene Bartkeviča, an environment to be studied and savored piece by piece..[..] One must think that Baņuta Rubess‘ work with the actors was gigantic, tearing them away from their ideas of what is “high society’, how to play comedy and what suffering means on stage… The best way to describe the acting is to call it swift and business-like.[..] This is the show that could change the archaic ideas regarding comedy which exist in the Latvian theatre – on both sides of the stage. [..]Baņutas Rubess’ production leaves nothing unconsidered.“ Edīte Tišheizere, for Diena