Posts Tagged ‘National Theatre of Albania’

I only managed four this week and it wasn’t the most exciting start.

I had high hopes for Dhaka Theatre’s Tempest but I’m afraid it was a mere squall. There was something about the exaggerated movement (particularly the silly walks!) which irritated and for me it was colourful but neither dramatic nor magical, I’m afraid.

The next day, though, the Polish Macbeth restored honour to European theatre – with bells on! A very radical and filleted modern staging was no doubt detested by the purists. The witches were drag queens (who cruised in the audience and sang I Will Survive on cue!), Macbeth’s riotous victory party saw the vodka-fuelled King dad dancing to Billy Jean and most of the male characters seemed to spend a large part of the time in their underwear. It came in at under 2 hours (with interval!), yet I thought it completely captured the power-crazed madness that is the heart of the play.

I’ve been to all the Balkan nations in recent years and thought the idea of asking three of them to each do one part of Henry VI was inspired. Perhaps arriving 40 minutes late (I thought it started at 1.30pm not 12.30pm) was part of the reason I couldn’t really understand what the Serbian‘s were getting at with their interpretation of Part I. The actors had great presence as very realistic noblemen at war, helped by some excellent period costumes. There were a large number of wrought iron pieces which kept being reconfigured into a snake-like platform, a circular ‘maze’ etc. but I couldn’t see the point – they just got in the way of the action. What I really didn’t like was the misguided funny business, like a dumb-show illustrating the early life of Richard as Mortimer is relating it to him.

With a right royal history (including the brilliantly titled King Zog!), one should perhaps not be surprised that the Albanian Part II was a more regal affair. Again, actors with great presence, but I’m afraid the pacing was somewhat slow – with some scene changes taking so long you were wondering if we’d got to an interval / conclusion.

Sadly, I couldn’t make the Macedonian Part III, which I am led to believe was the best! I also missed the two Zimbabwean gents doing Two Gents, which I also hear was good. Week four will be a lean one as work gets in the way. I will miss the Argentinian / Mexican Henry VI pairing and the Belarus King Lear, but hope to make the rest. To be continued…..

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