(a tale in powder)
Around the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s in Skopje, when I was 5-6 years old, children from the suburbs (where I also grew up) often amused themselves by casting shadows in dark rooms with their hands and other objects, by candlelight. Some of them became real artists: the hand, with a little magic, became a goose, a devil with horns, a dog, a bird’s beak, a dragon, a horse with wings. Objects were transformed: the sewing needle under a magnifying glass could become a baby in swaddling clothes, the fork – a frightened man or a three-toothed person standing at the entrance of a seductive underground world of shadows. I have forgotten many of those tricks and metamorphoses, yet I remember them now when the electricity fails during a thunderstorm, as I try to reproduce the figures for my daughter.
In those days the electricity was often cut off in Skopje. They called it a restriction. I do not know why there are no restrictions today. Perhaps we are richer now. Yet, I know we are poorer in the world of shadows. We read about this world only in books of ancient mythology.
I dedicate this piece to the people of my generation who sold the shadows and departed to a world of light, a world of lathed metals, preserved minerals, pale neon and bright perspective.
BELA (24), a fairy in the east, in the west a model with shoes of the dead.
TSETSA (17), her sister, a girl who is always cold.
THE CHILD (6), Bela’s son; he chooses a father with a golden apple.
PUPPET (24), a hero searching for the Slavic chest and the golden apple.
ARSO (60), a sergeant-major about to retire.
TSVETA (58), a housewife, a woman that dreams.
HOOK (24), a man wishing to forget the Slavic chest.
TEMO (60), his father, first a psychiatrist, then a furrier.
SNAKE, a man of indeterminate age, a Vienna fashion designer, trader of bulldozers, leather, women and other merchandise.
GOD (ageless), an old man, the master of shadows.
THE POLICEMAN, shoots first, asks later.
THE SLAVIC CHEST, an object containing a lost world.
Two bodyguards, shadows, pollen dust, and other important characters.
The action takes place in the spring of 1993.