Stories from the balcony
The project ‘Stories from the balcony, Stories from the Balkans’ by ATAK (Alternative Theatre Active Company) plans to organize, through a public call, a competition for unemployed, independent and all interested writers, primary playwrights from the Balkans, in the form of a short play.
We interviewed Vasko Raicevic from ATAK to have an in-depth look at their project ‘Stories from the balcony, Stories from the Balkans’ and what topics these plays will touch on.
Vasko explained that “Stories from the balcony is an original project involving Balkan countries about making small theatre plays there will be no more than five pages and no more than two actors. The plays will be about their experiences in the Balkans on a political, social, educational and national sense in the era of the current pandemic.
The themes that the short plays reflect are centred on what is common between western Balkan countries and their relationship with Western Europe. As well as, their attitude on the topics of the Balkan vision of Europe, connectivity and solidarity in current circumstances, subculture, Balkan view of Europe within the problems that many countries face in the EU accession process, anti-fascist legacy, life between East and West.
These small pieces are produced like small theatre plays in any of the following four countries: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro. There will also be an exchange of artists materials, as well as having jury members from these counties. Due to the pandemic, this will be taped and streamed in all these countries. The top 10 short plays will be selected by a jury of relevant theatre experts and artists from Balkan, and the plays will be published in a separate collection. These plays will be performed by actors from different countries of the Balkans on their balconies, recorded as videos and distributed through the website, Facebook, Instagram, youtube channel, etc. At the end of the project, we have an idea to make a book of the best of these plays and one staged performance of one of the plays if the current situation with Coronavirus allows us.”
Enforcing connectivity and solidarity in current circumstances
“You can no longer meet with your neighbour in person, but you can have a meeting in your balcony. So currently owning a balcony has become a privilege, not only because of fresh air but to make it possible to participate in the community. Also, it can be very productive in an artistic way where you can have interesting possibilities to make stories. The balcony has also returned to its democratic function, that is, participation function, and we use balconies as places to speak. Balcony narratives confirm openness, solidarity and exchange as the initial values and the foundation of the society of all European nations. The balcony is the only living scene for articulating the specific, traumatic experience of citizens of different European cities.” explains Vasko.
European Public Space
When it comes to European Public Space ‘Stories from the balcony, Stories from the Balkans’ it’s trying to restore the democratic function of Balkan countries, that is, the function of participation. The project examines micropolitics of various Balkan constituents, where the question of territory statehood has always been questionable. Vasko further explains that “At the height of the pandemic people are reaching out to each other, practising imaginative human gestures of everyday solidarity, unities us across balconies, in times of crisis. This time maps balcony, architectural element, by forms of agora and forum, as the public space of the world’s citizens – Baroque Mundi theatre.
It is also interesting to have the possibility where others can see our stories and what we are thinking about when it comes to the Balkans place in Europe and current politics. This project will not only have artistic topics but also research on what the future of public space could be in some parts of our lives, especially with the future having more of these kinds of projects on online platforms.’“