ONE FLEW OVER THE KOSOVO THEATER
An Anthology of Contemporary Drama from Kosovo
Edited by Saša Ilić and Jeton Neziraj
Theater serves as a memory machine. How else will future generations know what really happened in Kosovo in the throes of a devastating war?
— Frank Hentschker, Executive Director, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, Professor, Ph.D. Program in Theatre, The Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New York
A fascinating and nuanced collection of insights into the lives, the aspirations, and the negotiations with the past, present, and future of the inhabitants of this little-known corner of Europe.
— Marvin Carlson, Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, Comparative Literature, and Middle Eastern Studies, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
These plays are at once terrifying, beautiful, and deeply ironic . . . This book is a great gift of dramatic literature. It has relevance far beyond the Balkans.
— Karen Malpede, Playwright, director, Co-founder of Theater Three Collaborative; Adjunct Professor in the Communications, Theater Arts, and Environmental Justice programs at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Because artists carry multiple truths, different and conflicting, they become authentic mirrors of audiences, reflecting what survivors and communities are struggling with . . . Just so, this searching anthology from Kosovo unpeels, not absolute truth, but layers of truth that need to be recognized before they can be reconciled.
— Michael Lessac, Founder and Artistic Director of Global Arts Corps.; film, theater, and TV director; Ph.D. in Developmental and Perceptual Psychology
The poet reading in Albanian from his monodrama
Perhaps the first full-throated response to the war in Kosovo to be published in English, every play included here – even the two comedies – proceeds from traumatic circumstances or the wake of them:
Set in the thick of the NATO bombing and the forced expulsion from Prishtina, The Basement is a family drama in which every inclination and every snap reaction can have an unbearable effect.
The Finger draws its impetus from a vacuum, from a family bereft, and the implacable dynamics between two women. In it, a disappearance calls for – and exacts – rituals in the gap between life and death.
In the monodrama, Slaying the Mosquito, exile carries with it all the derangement of the war, enacted in the person of the poet madman-shaman, a tormented spirit caught between diverse worlds.
The eponymous One Flew over the Kosovo Theater is an uproarious lampoon. Set in the days approaching the independence of Kosovo, it takes aim at the new government and their yen for censorship and the appropriation of the arts.
Recapitulating the occupation and conflict, The Crossroads Café is a sweeping farce with a full cast of characters, including the Serbian Police and guerrilla fighters, together with an Everyman trapped in the machinations.
One Flew over the Kosovo Theater is more than a collection of plays. It is something that verges on a saga.