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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 94 | volume XVII | January-February, 2014



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 94January-February, 2014
Reviews

Pinter in Macedonia

Productions, Translations and Critical Reception


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p. 1
Benjamin Keatinge

1. Introduction


    Considering its size (25,713 sq km) and relatively low population (2 million), the Republic of Macedonia offers a surprisingly rich and vibrant theatrical tradition and infrastructure. Leading theatre scholar, Jelena Lužina, notes in her essay “Theatre in Search of a New Identity” that Macedonia’s “long and rich cultural history – primarily an urban one – is made up of a dense mingling of different languages and traditions (Macedonian, Turkish, Walachian, Hebrew, Albanian . . .)” while “Its present reality is dominated by what is known as the process of transition, which characterizes all ex-communist countries. . .” (Lužina 2004). The purpose of this essay is to show that in the midst of this transition – and following independence in 1991 and war in neighbouring Kosovo in the late 1990s, plus its own brief conflict in 2001 – the Macedonian stage has found a space for the dramatic work of Harold Pinter. Indeed, while Pinter’s impact and dissemination may have been slow, especially in the pre-independence period, there is strong evidence to suggest that Pinter’s work has established itself in the Macedonian repertoire, while also impacting upon important Macedonian dramatists writing before and after 1991. It would seem that the mid-1990s, as this essay will argue, marks the point of “lift-off” for Pinter in Macedonia. Writing in 1994, the critic and poet Ivan Ivanovski tried to establish reasons “for such a long period of neglect of Pinter’s dramaturgical works on the professional drama stages in Macedonia” (Ivanovski 1994). He cites the challenges of performing Pinter as well as Pinter’s supposed “difficulty” and “uncertainty” as possible obstacles. However, it may be that the higher levels of cultural exchange in the post-1991 period are an important factor in the overcoming of Pinter’s perceived difficulty and the willingness of translators and directors to engage with his work. What is certain in that by the time Pinter was awarded the Nobel prize in 2005, most theatregoers alert to developments in contemporary drama would have had at least the chance to see Pinter performed in Macedonian. Indeed, the Nobel award in 2005 proved to be a stimulus for new publications and productions, all of which will be traced in this essay.
    Looking back over the decades since the first London production of The Birthday Party in 1958, it may seem surprising that the first Pinter production officially recorded in Macedonia (then, of course, part of Yugoslavia)






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