a poetic and humorous reflection on mortality

Anubis was the ancient Egyptian god who guided the spirits of the dead to the underworld where they would be judged. He was the guardian of the entrance to the underworld and the one weighing the hearts of the deceased on Maat’s scale.
Travelling on his boat between the world of the living and that of the dead, Anubis glides across the stage. His boat creaks when he casts off and crosses the river to fetch the souls of the dead he will be leading to the underworld. Cloaked in a cape and wearing a hood, he glances inquisitively at his surroundings. He is a quiet and solitary god but when he breaks into a wild dance, he almost looks mischievous. 

The play Anubis invites us to a death ritual, in which Egyptian myths and the romantic poetry of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the author of “Death and the Fool”, seem naturally interwoven.

„Cast this hereditary fear from thee!
I am no grewsome thing, no skeleton.
From Venus I'm descended, Dionysos' son,
The god of Souls before thee thou dost see.
When thou thru summer shadows going,
Hast seen a leaf borne thru the gilded air,
'Tis then my breath hath touched thee, thou unknowing,
That dreamlike doth all ripened things ensnare;...”

„ I could hardly believe my eyes (....), almost imperceptible in a black outfit, behind one of the most visually arresting, evocative and complex puppets I’ve seen. I simply couldn’t believe that one person was able to expressively operate a puppet with a nuance and delicacy unsurpassed in anything I have previously seen at the festival.  

A reflection on mortality through the movements of a skeletal figure of Anubis, an Egyptian god and judge of the dead, the piece works at you slowly, pulling threads and themes with care until a final, exquisite moment of self-revelation and realisation between the manipulator and puppet brings us full circle between life and death, knowledge and naivety, being and been. Anubis was astounding. I feel privileged to have experienced it.”

Carla Lever, Cape Town Drama reviews South Africa

„There must be a magic trick...otherwise why do we feel so good after this play about death. C.U. Gebert, known for the talent for casting a new light on dark things, successfully manages this amazing feat in the play Anubis.” 

Lucie Tirado, Neues Deutschland

Idea/ Direction/ Performance: C.U. Gebert

Artistic Collaboration: Ilka Schönbein, Gabriel Hermand-Priquet

Musical Composition: Ulrich Kodjo Wendt, Mark Badur

Scenography/ Puppets: C.U. Gebert

Costumes: Sonja Albartus, C.U. Gebert

Co-production: Schaubude Berlin

Project supported by: T-Werk Potsdam, Brotfabrik Berlin

Duration: 30 min


Anubis can be programmed together with Limen or Jakusch.