Month 5 Begins

I now have been in Kosova for four months! The last month has been a roller coaster ride for me: weather, rehearsals, personal feelings. Such is life…how would we recognize the wonders of life if we didn’t have the contrast for definition?

Spring comes and goes. We’ve gradually moved from a brown to green landscape that is particularly lush and beautiful on campus. We’ve had a few days in the 80s that made classes and rehearsals rather uncomfortable. (I don’t think any of our academic buildings has a/c, or heat, for that matter.) One warm day, I thought it was snowing: the cottonwoods had bloomed and filled the air and covered every surface–inside and out–with a light dusting. Dreadful for allergies but still better than January and February, when the air was so polluted with burning wood and lignite. Nights are still cold, often in the 40s. Determined not to turn on my apartment’s heat, I sleep under a winter comforter.

Sam Gould, a visual artist from the U.S., arrived this past week to begin a month-long project at Stacion, a museum here in Prishtinë. As I understand it, the project involves making and eating homemade pizza on Friday and Saturday nights while openly discussing power. Then the fruits of those discussion will be printed onsite in small books. The idea is based on an historical incident–a discussion during the 1960s between four freethinkers, one of whom was Alan Ginsberg. Sam would like to involve actors who would recreate this discussion, perhaps in Shqip (Albanian).

We had another premiere at the National Theatre, this time Shtëpia Në Ankand, a tragicomedy or perhaps comedy of manners (?) translated as This House for Auction. One of my actors (Kremtim Krasniqi) had a sizable role and, as always, performed very well. My cast and I attended the first reprise, which was delayed for 30 minutes to accommodate the arrival of the Prime Minister, who is friends with the playwright. (Premieres here, as in most of Europe, are by invitation. If there are any tickets left over, they cost substantially more than subsequent performances.) The actors were solid, but I just couldn’t follow the story.

We finally have a date for the premiere of our Vietnam play: Friday, June 1, at 8:00, in the Skena e Vogel (Small Theatre) of the National Theatre. I am excited and relieved to have this scheduled and can plan accordingly–physically and psychologically. We are at the point in our rehearsal process where concretes and specifics are most welcome. Hopefully, we will move soon from our classroom to the theatre for at least a week of “in space” rehearsals and technicals. Working with actors–here in Kosova or back in the U.S.–is a special relationship, and there always are ups and downs. Fortunately, I really enjoy working with the actors, and I think the feeling is mutual.

Here are some photos from the past week:

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About David McTier

Chair and Professor of Theatre Department of Theatre Arts University of the Incarnate Word