Balkan Sampler

Hotel Europa by Goran Stefanovski

A few words on Hotel Europa

Hotel Europa was a complex project which took over a year to prepare and perform. I originally wrote the concept and the first draft of the script, which was followed by a meeting with all directors, where the material was discussed. Afterwards I wrote the further drafts of the script.

The project was produced by Chris Torch of Intercult, in Stockholm. He is an American and a naturalised Swede, originally an actor in the Living Theatre, a real artistic and human live-wire force.

The production was directed by nine directors and performed by 25 actors from several mainly Balkan and Baltic countries. Every director worked with their own team and their own style. Some scenes were written as drama, some as dance librettos and some as installations. Some scenes mutated from their original version to suit the style of the director and the actors.

“Europeretta” was directed by director Viesturs Kariss and visual artist and designer Ieva Jurjane, from Latvia. “Do Not Disturb” was directed, mainly as a dance piece, by choreographer Matjaz Faric from Slovenia. “One Night Stand” was directed by Oskaras Korsunovas from Lithuania. “Room Service” was directed by Dritero Kasapi from Macedonia. “Hotel Angels” was directed by Piotr Cieplak from Poland. “Maiden Voyage” was directed by Ivan Popovski from Russia. “The Empty Rooms” were installations staged by the Art Action Group “Skart” from Yugoslavia. “The Grand Hotel Casino Europa” was the central scene directed by Neyalko Delchev from Bulgaria. The Roving Characters were directed and performed by local artists from the co-producing parties and countries.

The production was performed in five European cities in the summer of the year 2000. It was performed in specially adapted huge spaces of “derelict buildings”. In Vienna it was co-produced by Wiener Festwochen and performed at the Kabelwerk, an old cable factory. In Bonn-Bad Godesberg it was co-produced by the Bonner Biennale and performed in an empty ex-deprtament store in the centre of town, Das Ehmalige Hertie Warenhous . In Avignon it was co-produced by Festival D’Avignon and performed in the Usine Volponi, a warehouse twenty minutes bus ride from the walled old town. In Stockholm it was produced by Intercult and performed at Medborgarhuset, a huge public building in the centre of the south part of town, including a swimming pool. In Bologna it was co-produced by the City of Culture of Bologna and performed in a building which used to be an aquarium.

Soren Brunes did the overall complex production design. The project resembled a military operation and required military precision. Audience of 300 would enter the building for an opening scene. Then it would be split in six groups of fifty and taken to separate rooms for individual scenes. There were six scenes going on in synchronicity, each lasting roughly 15 minutes. After each scene a Roving Character would lead the audience from one room to another, where another scene would start. Groups of audiences would sometimes brush shoulders with each other in corridors during these journeys.

It was extremely important for these transitions to go smoothly, which was not easy at best of times. In the middle of the performance all of the audience would gather in a big “banquet” hall for the longer central scene. After this, there would be further journeys of the audience for the remaining scenes. This means that people saw the production in different order of scenes and consequently with a different narrative flow.

All these years later I’m still reeling with excitement when I think of the sheer sweeping breadth of the project of Hotel Europa.

Goran Stefanovski, February 2009

Goran Stefanovski

Dramatist and playwright Goran Stefanovski was born in Macedonia. He worked in Yugoslavia as one of its most prominent theatre professionals until the late 90s, when he moved to England. His plays and essays have had numerous translations and publications.

His latest plays include:

2006, THE DEMON OF DEBARMAALO, commissioned and produced by the Dramski teatar, Skopje, Macedonia.

2002, EVERYMAN, commissioned by Theatre Melange,

premierred at the Atelje 212 Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia in 2003. English production and UK tour by Theatre Melange in 2004.

During the civil wars in Yugoslavia his works became engaged with the social and political problems in Ex-Yugoslavia and their repercussion in Europe. He wrote scripts for a number of European productions, dealing with issues of migration, social conflict, post-communist transition and multicultural identity. Among them are Hotel Europa (2000) and Landscape X: Euralien (1998), both produced by Intercult, Stockholm.

In 2004 he presented the paper “After dinner speech” at the “Sharing Cultures” conference in Rotterdam, Holland. In 2005 he presented a paper “The Heart of the Matter” at the “What Future for the Balkans and the EU?” European Cultural Foundation Conference, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Stefanovski is also a teacher of scriptwriting. In 1986 he founded the playwriting course at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje, Macedonia where he was a full professor until 1998. Between 1998 and 2000 he was a visiting professor at the Dramatiska Institutet in Stockholm, where in 2002 his “A Little Book of Traps, (a scriptwriting tool)” was published.

He is now a free-lance writer, living in Canterbury, U.K, where he teaches at the Canterbury Christ Church University.

balkan-sampler-featured-image

Balkan Sampler November 5, 2011 at American University

A BALKAN SAMPLER: FIVE CONTEMPORARY DRAMATISTS

http://balkansampler.eventbrite.com/

Scenes from plays by some of the most important modern playwrights from Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania will be performed in staged readings at the Department of Performing Arts at American University. The vision of these writers is forged in the crucible and the memory of conflict, yet they reveal an astonishing consistency in terms of the innovative theatre culture that is shared by.

They also demonstrate how united these artists are in their desire to confront us, to challenge us, to find new models of co-existence. Post-show audience engagement will involve thought- provoking dialog with experts on the Balkan area—and a sampler of Balkan cuisine.

The featured plays and playwrights include:

Albania, Stefan Capaliku—Allegretto Albania

Bulgaria, Hristo Boytchev – The Colonel and the Birds

Macedonia, Goran Stefanovski—Hotel Europa

Serbia, Biljana Srbljanovic – Family Stories

Romania, Saviana Stanescu—Aliens with Extraordinary Skills

At the Katzen Arts Center’s “Studio Theatre.”

4400 Massachusetts Avenue, at Ward Circle

Saturday November 5, at 2pm and 8pm.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Performing Arts and the Center for Global Peace (SIS) at American University.

In collaboration with the embassies of Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, and Ambassador Theater