At MNT stage: Stuck between directing and acting
“Orkestar Titanik” had its opening at the stage of the Macedonian National Theatre on 19 June 2006. The director is Dimitar Stankoski, with the actors Vlado Jovanovski, Magdalena Rizova Černih, Nino Levi, Vasil Šiškov and the guest Vasil Zafirčev; the music was made by Venko Serafimov, the costumes by Marija Papučevska, and the stage setting was made by Ilina Angelovska. Everybody is alone; everybody is a victim of the time in which we live in fear: you never know who can shove a knife in your back. The persons and events are placed by Bojčev in an atmosphere of a deliberate farce in which life rolls through seemingly nothing significant, because the basis has an apocalyptic course.
But, all the values of the associative and almost crystallized text of Bojčev are only heard in this performance. The play sinks at the relation directing-actors. At these two levels, the key with which the time and the man lost in it will be seen on the stage. Stankoski, who is known by the good selection of actors, which is always a great advantage and value of his directing could and should have created a different world with partially other actors who would feel the characters from within. The text and characters ask for a play that does not twist, does not stand still, does not rely on external effects. On the contrary, it has all elements to play a state of disaster, unsuccessful transition story in a country where there are neither happy people, nor a success story. There are only doubts, waiting, hopes and illusions.
The interpretations of the actors are more of situations of some other characters – played once, some of them never played, and of course, now are beyond the given ones. The symbolic aspect of the fact that the musicians of the Titanic orchestra played until the very end (hope dies last) and the music was heard even after the definitive sinking of the ship, does not even start in this performance. The situations in which the characters are the ones that show the truth that there is no escape from here, that the closeness of the system as opposed to the links with the world with a system of rails on which the trains move in all directions in such a picturesque way, while we are passed by or wait at wrong stations, that the world is a Titanic and that the only light is the escape in the illusions, are not played in a form that will show the real situation: people who run from themselves, who do not want to face themselves and in their escape or in their despair create friendships in which there is no honesty. No mutually common issues are sought in the play. The text is becoming Macedonian at times, the actors are helped by four singers whose songs look for the superficial side of the situation. Everybody and everything goes to different directions in the play. If V. Šiškov is completely outside his character, if Rizova Černih reminded me of an old character of hers – the Old Lady in “Dead Souls” although now she plays a character of a young pregnant woman, if Jovanovski and Levi are alone in their non-understood acting, the guest V. Zafirčev at least brought me back to the character with which he entered the theatre at the big door – the young man in “Elešnik”, also directed by Stankoski (without the main stress being on the corporal aspect). There is one good scene in the play – the sinking of the musicians in the cold water, which is little, too little for any hope for any more positive twist in the complete play. The complexity of the psychological states of the characters that is precisely set at Bojčev and correctly dimensioned, has to come from their inside, in this staging only has the need of playing/stressing the transition labyrinth from outside. This is done via signs that are expressed via the ultimately unnecessary melodrama and caricatures. They act at a level of imaginary real picture of what we live, with few signs that because of the dosage in which they are given only serve to show already seen and boring political situations and symbols.