The first theatre show in Albania

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 28, 2019 20:45

The first theatre show in Albania

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  • The National History Museum has prepared a documentation on the early theatre shows in Albania with information and pictures for the public on the World Theatre Day, meanwhile its artists are still disheartened from the demolishing of the National Theatre building.

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TIRANA, March 27- On the framework of the World Theatre Day in March 27, the National History Museum (NHM) has published a material regarding the artistic theatre beginnings in Albania. The first theatre how documented in our country is the Lunxheri Wedding in 1874 written by Koto Hoxhi, and staged by pupils of the normal school “Zografia” at the Qestorat village in Gjirokaster.

The first theatre compositions and the first theatre show belong to the National Awakening period in our country. The first genuine play for its artistic structure is Emira by Arberesh writer Francesk Anton Santori (1814-1894), written in 1885. The NHM writes that the play was published by Jeronim De Rada in his newspaper “Fjamuri i Arbrit” (Arber’s Flag). The Albanian dram reached higher levels on later years beginning 20th century by a good many authors, such as Andon Zako Cajupi with his renowned A Bridegroom at Fourteen from 1902; Gjergj Fishta with his melodrama St. Francescu of Asiz from 1909; Fan Stilian Noli with the drama Israelis and Philistinians from 1907; Mihal Grameno with his three-act comedy The Curse of Albanian Language from 1907,  and his 1906 tragedy The Death of Pirro.  

The first professional theatre in Albania was the Popular Theatre which was inaugurated in Tirana on May 17, 1945. The Popular Theatre was later recognized as the National Theatre after the 1990s. The NHM writes that the theatre has a 69-year long history with a large repertoire of premieres of national and international dramaturgy. The first play at the Popular Theatre was the comedy Topaze from Marcel Pagnol, directed by Sokrat Mio.

“The theatre tradition is horizontal. No one can say that the theatre exists in a world center, city or privileged building. The theatre is expanded through an invisible geography that unites the lives of those who perform it and the theatrical mastery in a single unifying gesture,” writes Cuban playwright Carlos Celdran about the National Theatre on the World Theatre Day.

In 1961 the International Theatre Institute decided that the World Theatre Day to be celebrated annually on March 27. In all theatre stages worldwide prior to a show performance, the message on the importance of the theatre to the public is read on this day.

This day found out National Theatre amidst many problems, such as lack of infrastructure, investment, actors with low salaries, lack of status, legal issues, and among many others also obstacles in the artistic life, for all which the artists have claimed that the Ministry of Culture has turned into a Ministry of Anticulture. Renowned artists expressed that due years the theatre was left without any institutional attention, and that the undertaken policies have actually harmed it. Actor Zef Deda said on the World Theatre Day that a population without education and art is done.

“Without art, culture and school a people cannot be developed. This people (Albanians) used to have art and culture, and the school was strong. But now the theatre has drastically fallen, as the politicians of this country don’t deal with, don’t want to deal with, and are totally uninterested about art and theatre. They only claim with words we’ve done this and that, but actually nothing. They have actually completely destroyed art and culture” said “Great Master” Deda.

The actor claims that the theatre needs more investments and that the actors feel unappreciated from their wages. He said that people are leaving because they don’t anything beautiful in this country anymore. He said that the government should focus on investment and find a genuine staff, instead of deciding to wreck the building, which has been an issue the actors have been facing since early 2018. Director and actress Eliona Thomaraj also said that instead of a celebratory day, the Theatre in Albania is miserable.

“Theatre was born from the imitation of life, and will die when life disappears. It cannot happen that humanity to live and develop without mimicking, without experiencing catharsis and emotions,” saud Thomaraj.

She said that she calls out to the Minister of Culture to reconsider the national theatre as Thomaraj sees the citizens to be “spiritually decomposing and degrading.” A dignified artistic life ensures a healthy civic society. She said that unfunded theatres are turned into catacombes and relics. She added that this should stop, and instead the glory and cult status should be returned to the theatre.

And if it wasn’t only for the National Theatre demolishing, the Prime Minister Edi Rama has warned that the Puppet National Theatre might also be demolished. It should be reminded that the building where the Puppet theatre resides was the first Albanian parliament. However, the artists have backfired to not allow this project to come into existence, or any other seemingly plan from Rama to turn the culturally historic buildings of Tirana into ashes.

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Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 28, 2019 20:45