After a successful US tour, Balkan Bordello produced by the prestigious New York Theater La MaMa (USA) in association with Qendra Multimedia (Kosovo), Atelje 212 (Serbia) and My Balkans (USA/Serbia), returns to the region with a tour in some of the most renowned summer festivals.
- August 8 at Nisville Jazz Theater Festival in Nis (Serbia)
- August 10 at Ohrid Summer Festival in Ohrid (North Macedonia)
- August 12 at KotorArt International Festival in Kotor (Montenegro)
- August 13 at Wild Beauty Art Festival in Zabljak (Montenegro)
Balkan Bordello premiered in Prishtina on November 2, 2021 and continued with a tour in Kosovo, Albania and Serbia. In March 2022, the American premiere at New York’s La MaMa was followed by ten shows and attracted the attention of European and American critique.
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. But the fever and enthusiasm that come from inglorious victories are blood animals—they feed and live on blood. When he returns home, death awaits powerful Agamemnon. He is killed by his wife, Clytemnestra, the oppressed woman who, by killing her husband, seeks to find freedom. Together with Egist, a hypocritical poet, Clytemnestra wants to start a new life, without fearing she will be raped and humiliated by her husband.
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 a play 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.
Photos by Ferdi Limani and Kushtrim Ternava
By: Jeton Neziraj; Directed by: Blerta Neziraj
With: Svetozar Cvetković, George Drance, Eugene the Poogene, Valois Mickens, Ema Andrea, Adrian Morina, Mattie Barber-Bockelman, Ivan Mihailović, Matt Nasser, Verona Koxha
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.