When played on the premises, the ghost of Mrs. Benjamins haunted the sterile conference room; the audience followed her to the dining room, where she unveiled the stained-glass window made in her honour; finally, she presided over a glittering reception in her salon, complete with string quartet. During intermission, a documentary video played of survivors of the Soviet deportations of 1941.
The show was produced by Laila Baumane and the Support for Music and Art Fund and toured a string of Latvian chateaux. Later Benjamiņa returned to the Hotel Europa Royale and toured Germany, the United States and Australia, with some 100 performances.
More than a decade later, I wrote about Mrs. Benjamins again, for the television series Emīlija, Queen of the Latvian Press.
Critic Undīne Adamaite wrote: This eccentric collage says much more about one person's destiny and the frailty of life than a large-scale chronological biography. Diena, April 2009
A version of the play in English is available.
Photos by Santa Liepa.