KOSOVO THEATRE REVIEWS
Trails of the ‘90s Underground Culture - an audio walking tour
Everything starts in Dardania. And by everything, I literally mean everything. I have my iPhone and my earphones. I have downloaded the Echoes application. I am ready to listen. He lives on the 7th floor. He and his friends are playing outside. His mom stares through the window. Your mom does that too right? Or at least she used to do when you were young and went outside to play. Everything looks normal. He is eighteen and by the law, he is considered a grown up person. He has had his first sentish dance. He and his friends go to the pubs and talk and dance and enjoy the music. Just like I do, and you also.
But this guy lives in 1998. And we are from 2020. In Kosovo. And there are two Serbian policemen who come sometimes and shout down the bars. The Albanian bars. They asked him one day if he would serve in the army. He responds that he will because it is his civil duty. That’s what others told him to say to them.
I observe. I check my phone. I am being reminded to continue walking until I reach the end of the highlighted area. It’s a bit messy to figure out this application, but I am managing somehow. I look around.
We are at Santea now, or as it was called on the 90s “Hani i dy Roberteve” A place when artists, journalists and philosophers used to meet and discuss everything, from Kosovo to Shakespeare. He has his Theatre Directing classes there. I keep walking with him inside the corridor. There was a protest by Albanians in the morning. Metallic things were flying around. He couldn’t finish his espresso. He had to go.
It’s 24th March, 1999. They planned to meet with Adriana today. She was an actress, a good friend of his. With her mother they have arranged to go to Tetovo because it was safer there. We hear the noise of bullets. We learn that Adriana was killed inside this pub.
I am sad. I think about Adriana while I keep walking through the highlighted area. I think of how many theater performances and films she would play in if she was alive today. I think of the contribution that she would give to the theater of Kosovo. As a woman, as an artist, as a hero of abnormal times.
I keep walking.
Now, he is talking about Nesha, a tall policeman, a Serbian guy. About the onion in his pocket during the protest. About the list. About the fact that he misses the main streets of Prishtina. About his first role in public space as a Serb. About his privilege of having a satellite television at home. About the Italian journalist who came to Prishtina and couldn’t believe his eyes. About Faruk Begolli, Enver Petrovci and his other professors. About many other things.
I keep walking and listening to his stories.
The 90s are not black and white for me anymore. I think about how important these kinds of stories are. Personal ones. When young people were trying to be normal young people in abnormal times. I think about why there are not many stories like this being told to us. Why there is no recognition for these people as heroes too. Heroes of abnormal times. This was on my mind during the whole walk.
I look at him now, at Florent. He is not eighteen anymore. It’s 2020. We just arrived at Theatre Dodona. The walk is over. A new theater show is about to begin…