THE LAST FAREWELL OF NUSIC’S BEREAVED FAMILY
Branislav Nusic passed away in his home on the day of Epiphany, 19th January 1938. Although it was well known that the greatest Serbian comediographer had already been ill for a long time, the news of death surprised everyone. Nušic’s funeral was one of the most noteworthy public events in the cultural life of the capital between the two world wars. Nusic’s body was laid on a catafalque in the foyer of the National Theatre on 21st January, and the funeral was on 22nd January. Here are some of the statements that famous Nušic’s contemporaries made on the day of the funeral.
„Nusic has unforged in his comedy a precious metal for small coins, small and numerous, intended for many. Recognized and unrecognized by critics, and admitted to the Academy only at the age of seventy, Nusic was finally acknowledged not only as the most active name, but also as a necessity of the time. One of the satisfactions for Nušic should be the feeling of voidness after his death; voidness and care at the theatre, to which he injected camphor year after year.“
„The reason for our citizens, for so many small people, to assemble around the coffin of Branislav Nusic, around the dead body of the writer of comedies, jokes, a creator of caricatures, a cheerful writer, an entertainer, to form a long and voluntary guard around his funeral, from the centre of the city to the distant cemetery – was not an ordinary curiosity of common people for solemn processions, or a wish to take part in a public act, or an attraction of a famous name, or even something that we could call ’thankfulness to laughter’... The true reason that summoned those long rows of Nusic’s fellow-citizens to the streets along which his dead body was carried was a different interpretation, a different meaning that Nusic’s laughter must have and had acquired at the same time when his life ended.“
„Nusic was my parent. The parent of my repertoire. He has created me the way I am now, by the roles he has written for me. He was a great man, so great that for a long, long time from now on there will be no one to match him... Nusic has meant a huge deal for us, actors. We have loved him as a father and have cherished him as a child. He has worried about us as a father, has taken care to give us the best roles, and we, in return, have cherished and protected him. Nusic has left us today. But as long as theatre and actors exist, Nusic will be famous and among us he will always be alive.“