/ Prehistory / Lenin
(ex-Soviet Union, Århus and Copenhagen, 1995-96)
In the winter of 1995-96 Claus Beck-Nielsen made a long journey into the ice cold white deep of Russia to look for another 20th Century Ghost: Vladimir Iljitj Lenin, the father of revolutions. In each city he found what had until very recently been a Lenin Museum. But now, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Lenin was out and instead other values were on display: In the Lenin Museum of Samara was a reptile show. And in the Lenin Museum of Uljanovsk was an American car fair.
In the outskirts of Uljanovsk Beck-Nielsen finally found the last living remnant of Lenin: Anatolij Ivanovitj, an old man who, since the beginning of the 1950ies had lived his life as the re-incarnation of Lenin in endless series of Lenin-TV-series, Lenin-movies and Lenin theatre shows. After forty years of stardom Anatolij Ivanovitj was now out of the picture, sunk into oblivion in the dusty armchair of his three-room apartment.
Claus Beck-Nielsen brought this forgotten piece of world history back home to Denmark and turned him into the star of the first Lenin performance on Danish ground, directed by Swiss Rolf Heim. Beck-Nielsen wrote the script and performed the part of the young Vladimir Iljitj.
At the premiere in Århus on September 7th 1996 the Danish Queen was present. Queen Margrethe II saw Claus Beck-Nielsen as the young Lenin. He didnt see her.