Mar 31, 2022
Apr 10, 2022

Balkan Bordello

"Balkan Bordello...was a turbo charged mash-up of theatrical styles and cultures...Based on The Oresteia, Balkan Bordello reminded me of a quote from Che Guevara—'history finds us where we are born.' Which is to say, history finds us everywhere...Kosovo’s problems, though particular, aren’t just peculiar to Kosovo, they are the problems of the whole world." - See Stage

Written by Jeton Neziraj
Directed by Blerta Neziraj

a black arrow pointing downward

A trans-Atlantic theatrical project between USA, Kosovo and Serbia, presented in association with Qendra Multimedia in Prishtina, Theater Atelje 212 in Belgrade, and My Balkans in Belgrade/New York.

Balkan Bordello: The Saga of a Balkan Family is based on Aeschylus’ trilogy The Oresteia. As an avatar of the modern world, Agamemnon returns triumphant from the battlefield, having reduced the enemy city to ashes. This is the bedrock of this play, which, with black humor, touches on the very fabric of the Balkan temperament, traces the morbidity of the human soul and highlights the stupidity and naiveté of an era being built on the foundations of violence, intolerance and hatred. The characters surrender to fate and nearly unconsciously fall into the trap of discontent and destruction. It's this vein of destruction that seduces as death seduces life. Balkan Bordello is an epic opera about traumatized societies that eat themselves. It confronts us with war as a machinery of destruction where life and normalcy capitulate in the face of humans' infidelities and evils.

Democracy cannot be taken for granted. The battle for it must be ongoing. Any fluctuation from this goal gives way to ghosts of war, abusers of power and autocrats who see the fate of the societies they rule as a game of Russian roulette. The same examples we had yesterday, we still have today. Balkan Bordello is an epic tale for the age of insanity we are currently living in.

Photos by Ferdi Limani and Kushtrim Ternava

Written by Jeton Neziraj
Directed by Blerta Neziraj
With: Onni Johnson, Svetozar Cvetković, George Drance, Eugene the Poogene, Valois Mickens, Kushtrim Hoxha, Mattie Barber-Bockelman, Ivan Mihailović, Matt Nasser, Verona Koxha

Composer: Gabriele Marangoni
Costumes: Gabriel Berry
Stage Design: Marija Kalabić
Choreographer: Gjergj Prevazi
Visual and Light Concept: Nico de Rooij
Dramaturges: Dimitrije Kokanov, Zishan Ugurlu
Producer of the Balkan Bordello: Beka Vučo
Production Coordinator: Maud Dinand
Lighting: Yann Perregaux
Assistant Director: Gëzim Hasani
Translator: Alexandra Channer
Production Manager: Kushtrim Sheremeti
Technical Support: Mentor Berisha
Sound Design: Damiano Meacci / Tempo Reale
Assistant Costume Designer: Flaka Rrustemi
Video: Ilir Gjocaj

Jeton Neziraj is the Director of Qendra Multimedia, after serving as the Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Kosovo. He has written over 20 plays that have been staged (over 50 productions), translated and published in more than 15 languages. Blerta Neziraj is an award-winning theatre director (including “The best directing for 2020”, in Kosovo) and for her work she received great local and international reviews. 

Balkan Bordello is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding and the Howard Gilman Foundation. Additional support by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Donors who contributed to the production and U.S. tour include: Rockefeller Brother Fund, Kosovo Foundation for Open Society, European Fund for the Balkans, Open Society Foundation Serbia, Olof Palme International Center, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, European Union in Kosovo, The Dutch Embassies in Prishtina and in Belgrade, Municipality of Prishtina, Municipality of Belgrade, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Kosovo, and ProtoPharma Beograd.

Great Jones Repertory Company


La MaMa’s Great Jones Repertory Company (GJRC) is an intergenerational ensemble of diverse artists, pioneering new forms of storytelling through radical physicality, voice, and movement.

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