#8Another time for you is also the Children Theatre Centre (CTC) – Skopje, which has officially started to work in its own space and with its own audience since last year, with an idea to create young audience that will one day be the audience of the theatre, but also for the audience to mix: now the Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish and Roma children together follow a single play at one stop – sitting next to each other, and for each one of them, depending on the language of the show there are subtitles in their mother tongues?
I received the invitation to be part of CTC by Dritëro Kasapi and Refet Abazi later. The idea was born during the Kosovo crisis and after the children mainly returned to their birth places. We continued with the project Street Stories, where we established mixed groups of children – Albanians, Macedonians, Roma, Bosnians and Turks, in order to have them spend part of the day together. We determined a Macedonian or Albanian who had their own project a program that they will follow. This turned out to be very good. Until then they also grouped in the classrooms. After a month, these children were together; they went to the movies, theatre, for a walk or played, not making any difference about who they were. So, we made it. Then there was the idea to establish/register CTC and find a facility. My idea was to ask for Napredok cinema. Although we spoke with the ten director of City Cinemas Aco Dukovski we did not find a common understanding with him. We thought that it was enough to just enter there because there was a stage. However, after we applied with the Macedonian Government and we had the facility, there was a new problem. When the City Cinemas left the facility, the director had ordered the workers to demolish it. It was demolished just as the Serbian soldiers/policemen demolished a facility of another country. But they also did us a service: we had to think how to find funds to demolish what was left and build what we needed.
#9This facility now works, has its program, production, has an audience of various nationalities, but there is also the idea that the theatre as a subject becomes part of the curricula at the national level. On one hand, there is less and less audience in the theatre; isn’t this another big battle?
There are still people who think that we can not create together or that in CTC there should be no mixed audience at one play, without being happy with this act and come and see how each of the children follows the action in their mother tongues. Let me repeat: if the play is in Albanian – there are subtitles in Macedonian and Turkish, if it is in Macedonian, there are subtitles in Albanian and Turkish, and if it is in Turkish, there are subtitles in Albanian and Macedonian. There are also such parents and teachers, principles of schools who do not bring the children at CTC plays. But the ones who came once come again. After we started with our own production, there are plays in various languages as well: Cookoo Bird is a play in Macedonian and it already has ten performances, in Albanian we have The Sponge and the Straw and it had 25 shows, Photographs is in Macedonian and it has 4 performances, and Sky without a Frame is played in Turkish…
You did not answer to what extent the idea of CTC to introduce theatre as a subject in the school curricula will help the theatre.
Children will be interested, and they are the only future theatre audience. We are sure that we will interest them, we will also interest some of them to choose theatre as their profession, and others will enter as trained audience.
#10People from the theatre today claim that theatre is in dark tunnel – where is the way out?
Being in the tunnel myself, I try to come out of it precisely via my work on my independent projects. What is an independent project? It does not mean that we are independent – we are very dependent. I am still dependent although I have registered my own company. I depend on the money; my father had not left me money to make my own theatre. So, I depend on finding a way to apply, interest institutions to give me financial support, starting from the Ministry of Culture and onwards. I have always received some money from the Ministry, but the independent projects in this Ministry do not have their deserved place. The funds are symbolic and one can not make a play out of them.
For example, you can not make a play out of 300.000 denars or 5.000 euro; you need 15 or 20 thousand euro for a good play. My so-called independent projects show that they can be more interesting and more quality and more professional than the institutional ones. So, there should be selection at the Ministry level on which projects or producers should be supported. Unfortunately, a big co-production this year did not happen because the Ministry of Culture could not support the project fully. We would have had a world premiere at Koltes, a text that would have been staged for the first time – with the Mini Theatre of Ljubljana and Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc from Rieka. The minimum that I asked was 15 thousand euros, and I received 8.
#11What did you do with this money?
I used part of it for the participation at the Theatre-Space festival in Istanbul this summer.
Who is more important in your profession: the actor or the director?
The actor, of course. The actor is the one who from his soul gives what means life to the stage. Although he does it together with the director, still the director of the play hides somewhere at the actor is the one who is alive in front of the audience and the people who watch him, judge. It depends on the actor whether the audience will applaud, support the play. But still, only with a joint work of the actor and director, including the author, one can reach the wanted success. It is clear that there can not be any success if I am not a human first of all before being an actor. And there is no result if as an actor I work with a director who is not a proper man, because it is clear that we’ll clash and we’ll not achieve our goal.