KOSOVO THEATRE REVIEWS
The absence of men
Balava, Theater Oda
What can two generations of women in the absence of men offer us on the stage?
Dunja Matic's Balava wove together isolation and desire for freedom; courage and fear, love and dissatisfaction.
The plot was a complex one. A mother of two daughters tries to keep them to herself by projecting on to them her own insecurities, vulnerability and the need to be loved and needed. She holds the ropes of the story. Her past has created a hole inside her that now seems to be filled only when she is accompanied by the only ones left that can ever love her.
Played by Mirjana Karanović, the role was well-executed, a woman undefeated against a tragic fate, against the cold loneliness and against the big challenge of being a single mother. The formal dress, the hair fixed for a special evening, the posture, the way she talked, all these were perfect for the role. It was a performance of energy and commitment.
Her sister, Tetka, played by Jasna Đuričić, was a character scarred by her own tragedy, who tries her best to reflect a spirit of joy and tranquility for her and the girls. She is the one trying to keep a level of normality until she will be the one that breaks down. The actress wore a spring dress, her hair fixed loosely and her careless body movements, that radiated warmth, were entirely different from her co-actress. All these differences only made the actress’s elegance more needed in the stage.
The daughters, total opposites of each other, have different perspectives but the same purposes. One (Balava) desires to create happiness outside the house, with a Boy she met and the other, Babe, longs for a freedom far away from her suffocating mother, as a way to be happy. They try their best to get out of the house and live and enjoy their long lives; but Balava gets caught in an unexpected pregnancy and fears that the future she has created in her head is starting to fall apart.
She experiences an unwanted abortion just when she made peace with wanting the baby, and
despite her mother's claims of her to be an easy minded girl, she dares to confirm the opposite and run away from the house while trying to prove that she is the only one that can make the best decisions for herself.
The actress Mina Obradovic represents a young character in the best supposed time of her life. She seems to have calculated all the right amount of joy, hope and saddens needed to intertwine in her character’s life. She performs with such an ease during the whole play, even in the most intense moments and is to be congratulated for her style of acting.
The other daughter gets stuck there with her mother, and no matter how much she fights her and blames her for everything, she realizes that her is all she got, the same as she is all her mother got, that way she can't leave her alone and break her heart twice, after her father.
Jovana Belović is careful to perform this character just as it is supposed to be performed; combining her father’s desire for freedom and her mother’s tendencies to be blocked. She was transparent, allowing us to see the wrecked world of the play’s character and she brought colour to the stage, to a world in which no colour exists.
The set consisted of only four chairs lined side by side, showing a unity between the four of them, thus symbolizing that they have someone close even if they feel alone, that there is a space to be filled by them, even if the world is to small or to big to find them some place.
The candle in front of them made me believe that in this house, there was some warmth, no matter how small. And however hidden, love is there, hope is still there and things will change, be that for good or just to make our characters understand that this all the best the universe can give them and maybe it’ s time to accept that.
The dialogue flowed very smoothly. The jokes were delivered well, but sometimes the public (including me) laughed at them beforehand, since the subtitles were faster than the delivery. And that a shame, destroying the magic of these comic moments.
But the real tragedy is the fact that all four of these women were closed in with so many walls,
physically or mentally and none of them had the means to be free without losing a part of
I was happy to have witnessed a play written by a woman, performed by women and visualized by a man, Andrej Nosov, as it demonstrates that the other sex has started to understand the female nature and its limitless capability to face the challenges and tragedies of a world that has only this to offer them.
Author: Dunja Matić // Directed by: Andrej Nosov // Cast: Mirjana Karanović, Jasna Đuričić, Jovana Belović, Mina Obradovic // Composer: Draško Adžić // Stage Design and Costumes: Selena Orb // Stage Movement: Damijan Kecojevic
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Kosovo Theatre Reviews
Reviews and creative responses to theatre productions in Kosovo