By Miho Gjini

When the beginning of a theatrical event closes, the soul is liberated! Not only do we love theater, as the most beautiful genre, which encompasses life within two emotional hours, but it communicates vividly closer to the man, who becomes part of the spectacle. Especially now, when very little money is offered to do it, when the crisis of its existence has struck and the tragedy of nature has been surprisingly added: the earthquake and the cholera flame, Covidi-19. Therefore, we say, after attending all the events of the Annual Theater Festival of Elbasan, from September 30 to October 6, that it is heroic to do theater, but also to institutionalize it. Then give it to the public. The Artistic Director, Adonis Filipi, who conceived and organized it, has always been in the fever of creation and personal existence, in the face of art experiments, successes and losses. There have also been masterpieces of art in these editions, as he was honored last year with the performance of Luiza Xhuvani by a French director, or with the famous spectacle of Mustafa Kurti from Ankara, Turkey, who unified and harmonized the stage action at the gate of historic castle, as if in harmony with it. Or, like this year with the show “Totem and Taboo” of Prishtina and especially with the mastery of “Marriage” of Chekhov’s comedy from the theater of Durrës…
Yes, are the other shows worthy of such an experimental, world-wide festival? Of course, not all! Even mediocre works of art have occurred among them. Filipi himself writes that he strives to “face the challenges that time offers, to show that theater can and should live in the most unusual times, proving love, strength and inspiration for people”. In this view, when not only many theatrical troupes are in crisis, when many directors and actors “swallow, with their hands tied” (!), When the Ministry of Culture does not know at all what to do with this “festival” and with it others like this, when even businessmen have in mind, among other things, “paths of enrichment”, in the same difficult conditions and circumstances, the making of the theater survived, which is and remains as a “heavenly hope”. Otherwise, the spectator of Elbasan would not fill all the stairs and walls of the castle, when the National Theater of Tirana, Ankara and Durrës i gave their spectacles… “During these difficult and strange times,” adds Adonis Philip, – such events become symbols of light and fire, which serve enough to enlighten and warm the human soul.
The first show of this year, “Totem and Taboo”, was brought by Kosovo, worthy of the opening of the hopeful festival. Because, not only artistically revealed the range of life, starting from the taboo mentality of sexual relations in today’s society, but there were expressed messages, in a unique harmony, with other genres of art, through choreography, music, song and fine arts . Vigorously, with a dynamic inspiration and pulse, which “stuck” the audience from the enthusiasm of a collective and suggestive creation.
The second play: “Nocturne on our stories”, realized with ideas, concepts and choreography by A. Ibërshimi, brought a panorama of youth, love and hope, as if it were in the harmonious continuity of messages brought by the spectacle of Prishtina, with creative work of choreographer Robert Nuha and director Zana Hoxha.
The third play, coming from Belgrade “Crying again, this time from happiness”, written by Novica Savic, directed by Dragan Jakovljevic, with a correct interpretation of Serbian actors, in an old train station, from those of the early our century, not all was understood, as it was given, without being discretized on the monitor! The same “fate” would have three other spectacles of monodramas and diadrams, realistically, with serious interpretations of the respective actors, who interpreted, without “radiating” the component of the word. As presented, in turn: the play of the Mediascena Theater Turin, Italy, with the work “Enigmatic Changes”, by Eric-Emmanuel Schmit and directed by Emiliano Pulali. With strong good actors, who spoke the melodic Italian language very nicely, conveying the written text, with a monitor on the side of the stage, only in English, without becoming known to most of the spectators in Albanian. Although, it was understandable why it was about: the isolation of a writer on the island, who has lost contact with relatives and girlfriend and where his spiritual problems are called, not reaching, to the people in the hall. The same “stage luck”, alas, would have the Lithuanian monodrama, with a work by Beckett (“Inside me is another fire”), interpreted the role of Krapp, -as an absurd character-, by Sakalas Uzhdavinys, with a good professional preparation, in his absurd endeavor, to give up the world and love, unable to accomplish this, away from people, reluctantly, returning to where he was… Meanwhile, the appearance of prepared and served with stew, was given in Lithuanian, after a brief preliminary explanation, by our Albanian escort. Without being able to fully communicate Beckett’s text and accompanying messages. Almost the same thing would happen to the two Turkish plays, which were very well interpreted. The first, with the title “I woke up without a voice”, by Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava, directed by Tamer Levent and performed by actors Burgu Gorek and Nur Dilara Gul, although with important messages, for women’s rights, that have secretly suffered oppression. Presented inside a bath tub, where they find it difficult to express themselves continuously… While the other Turkish actor Bizim Yunus, in a much more open field, with modern scenography and dignified direction by Mustafa Kurti, who brings on stage the thinker of the great Turkish poet Yunus Emre, with warm love notes and a very pure diction, by the great actor and brilliant singer Bizim. A show that also exhausts the distribution of the text, when the value of interpretive art suggests and beautifully expresses the essence of a valuable thought and message. However, the placement of the monitor in the depth of the stage, made the Albanian letters invisible, to bring us even more complete the great Turkish poet. And so we come to that technical problem, which jeopardized the artistic values ​​of these spectacles, when they become present and inherent, really unacceptable… Yes, all these performances are and remain of the genre of monodrama, as part of an actor, most of the time, individually worked by the actors themselves, which, in today’s periods, have become more frequent, to fill the gap that has been created for the theater in these periods of unexpected crises, but also from the lack of money, to bring in the highest quality conditions the theatrical part and the messages they have, to come and enjoy, even to the audience that is in the hall.
The eighth full play, with the combinations of all the components, would be “A madam from Argentina” by comedian Thomas Brand, directed by Adonis Filip, scenography by Sokol Sejdini, choreography by Artan Ibërshini and costume design by Sofia Karas. Which “produced” debates, pros and cons, for the “crap” that exists with the repertoire of our scenes, especially in the genre of comedy, when anyone can “put his hands” and do as he pleases , the original text, from the late Kristo Floqi who adopted it with the title “Karl’s Aunt”, in the ’30s, even from the late Mihal Popi with his later company who played this comedy, as a farce, abbreviated significantly, after the film screenings, even in later years, when he staged the same theater, titled “Madama from Barcelona” in 1994. Adonis Filipi realizes and presents now a spectacle of her own, with her hilarious brushstrokes, where most of all, she mocks the old mania of human pretense, as a social phenomenon, a feature in today’s life, as well as the pursuit of money. , alienating the person bën It does the same in the form of farce and entertainment in the music halls, where it gives quite a place to ballet, which brings the freshness of the cloud, when the disturbances become too long and thick! In this view, Adonis Filippi’s directing restores the comedy closer to the original, before it was “massacred” by later comedians and comedians. Another issue, then, whether or not such entanglements and tricks are acceptable, in the role of a woman would be played again by a man-actor, until here comes the real tattoo of Karl ..
Yes, without any discussion, it would be the staging of the Russian playwright Chekhov, with his three comedies and a prose, his own, also pleasant, with lyrical and cheerful notes everywhere, to give the spectators of this festival a excellent closure, which would make us forget even the flaws and shortcomings, yes and the monitors that did not work, but also the artists who came on stage and were not understood, with mutual regret.
To close the seventh day of the Chekhov festival, simple, true and difficult, with his underground humor, within the decay of a state, evidenced by professionalism and healthy joy by the director Driada Dervishi of the Theater “Alexander Moisiu” of Durres . In the interior of the castle, in a perfect wedding atmosphere, where there is no bride, but still a stare towards the beauty and gas of a wedding, with some characters from the “belly of St. Mary”, dancing and salty jokes, with tricks and consecutive situations, until the end comes when the actors become one with the many spectators who also turn into “characters” of this unusual “Wedding”. Where would we distinguish the whole acting troupe, from Durrës, but it is worth saying two more words about Adelina Muçë and Amos Zahari, about Genti Zenelaj and Andia Xhungë, as well as about the duo Jaime Fonda and Mimoza Marjanaku, without revenge ”on anyone… That theater is an honest competition, which takes place in front of the public.
Such festivals, which have arrived at the The 23rd year of its existence, with honest progress, with experiments, with failures and splendors together, when there is stagnation, crisis and dangerous pandemics around us, they are worth doing (although with “soul between teeth”). when money is wasted elsewhere!), and for another reason: to value and honor the martyrs of the human soul, the talents of the nation, the poorest atheists, —the poorest in the world economically. Like Mihal Popi who died in the new bazaar, in his old house, like Naim Frashëri the Great who passed away wearing the same jacket, like Sander Prosi, the performer of Ismail Qemali, who is thrown from the third floor of a the hotel, stressed out shooting movies, never paid for his creative work and the like. That Adonis Filipi made this humane gesture, with veneration, simply and with a modest reminder, for some artists of the Albanian scene, in Albania, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia and Montenegro, – friends and talents of this festival, who have left from life as poor and majestic as those mentioned above and those remembered here, such as Shpëtim ëmëmili, Bekim Lumi, Luran Ahmeti and Slobotan Milatovi,, who are no longer and are missing from our scenes… Also adding the appearance before the festivalists the translation of Adonis Filip and Klejda Plangarica of the study work “Dream of Passion”, by the great American actor and theorist Lee Stratsberg.
You leave this festival and feel the special value of an artistic and professional profiling, taking with you that accompanying message of the director Filipi, who starts from concrete artistic ideas and passions, trying to realize them from the troupe around the world, with his goals, as in this festival where the theme was dedicated to an unforgettable, entertaining theater and when the achievements of acting are related to such emotions of his country,
Misery that we did not see in the hall of this festival, however it was and was done, in these times of fear, still filled with gunshots, quarrels and murders, pandemics, – to the increase of the price of bread, official, MP and minister. Therefore, we are talking about a return of attention from the “martyrs of the human soul” who are running, advise…