KOSOVO THEATRE REVIEWS
Naten, Ma, Metropol Theater, Tirana, Albania
This is is not a typical performance. This audience is seated in a circle on the stage. In the middle of the circle sits Telma, an elderly woman watching TV. The play is set in her kitchen, a space surrounded with black walls. Some red pillows are on the chairs contrast with the gloom that grips the whole space. It’s been two minutes since the performance started. Everything seems normal. Routine. A scene of ordinary life. We wait for something to happen.
All of a sudden, Jessi, Telma's daughter, enters the room. With an unusual calmness she asks her mother where her father's pistol is because she has decided to kill herself. Telma is shocked. She strongly opposes Jessie's decision. She tries to convince Jessie to not do it. We learn that Jessie is divorced and she has a son. She feels that she failed as a mother and the only way to make everything better is by killing herself.
Suddenly, the set disappears. Don’t get me wrong, it's still there. But Telma and Jessie are the ‘play’ now. The whole of Ema Andrea's production is focused on the complexity of their mother-daughter relationship as portrayed by Ilire Vinca and Jonida Beqo. They face each other for the first time. They are talking about things they have never talked about before. Their dialogue is like a poem that never ends. Even the melody playing in the background ends up being unfinished.
They tell each other white lies. They discover others. The harsh reality of their life is being told. As it is. They question one another, they confront their realities.
The performance, based on the Pulitzer-winning play by Marsha Norman, raises many questions. Do we all experience a situation in the same way? What happens when there is no proper communication between people? What exactly is proper communication? And most importantly, do we lie to save other people from the pain or do we lie to save ourselves from the other people's pain?
Natën, Ma provoked feelings in me. It made me reflect on myself and my circle. We all know a Telma and a Jessie in our lives. Often even we are like them in different situations. Like Telma who is afraid of the unknown, Telma who often lies to not hurt others with the truth, who likes her comfort zone and finds peace when she knows what will always happen. Even if it's all a white lie. The TV is a metaphor for this.
Like Jessi who feels that she has failed in everything, in every role that this society has given her, as a daughter, as a woman, as a mother. She feels insecure. She feels rejected. Society has placed unattainable expectations on her. This wish to kill herself is her act of rebellion against those expectations. Jessi only exists, she does not live…
Norman's play also makes you analyze yourself. Your actions. When the performance ends you suddenly find yourself questioning many decisions in your life. You find yourself thinking about the future and the way how you will communicate with your family and friends. You also count your own white lies.
It is a play capable of making you become a better person. And I believe that this is the greatest achievement of any performance in the theatre. To make you have these ‘’a-ha moments’’. To make you, be you. Without the white (or not so white) lies.
Author: Marsha Norman // Directed by: Ema Andrea // Cast: Ilire Vinca, Jonida Beqo // Music: Bojken Lako // Music Players: Endi Aaron Cekani, Rei Kondakciu // Stage Design: Enio Shehi