Monday, March 28, 2011

Where We've Been


Contributed by guest blogger of the week, Blessed Unrest.

Blessed Unrest has maintained an artistic partnership with Teatri Oda of Kosova (Albanian spelling of Kosovo) since 2005. We first met while my partner Matt and I were traveling through the Balkans seeing as much theatre as we could and looking for a creative partner. We were blown away by Oda's work, their humor, intelligence, and determination. We spent many hours talking and decided to work together.

In 2006 we performed our original play Lying at Teatri Oda, incorporating an Oda actor into the show as a character/translator. Performing in Prishtina, Kosova was incredible, the show very well received, and the experience left us craving more artistically. In September 2008, Blessed Unrest hosted five Oda artists in New York City for the first-ever US/Kosovar theatre collaboration in the US. Our companies created Doruntine, an original, bilingual play based on an Albanian legend of family loyalty and the power of an unbreakable vow, co-directed by Florent Mehmeti (Oda's Co-Artistic Director) and myself (Blessed Unrest's Artistic Director Jessica Burr) and co-written by Matt Opatrny (Blessed Unrest's Managing Director) and Lirak Çelaj (Oda's Co-Artistic Director). We were amazed at the turnout of both American and Albanian-American audiences and determined to continue working together. In August 2009, seven artists from Blessed Unrest traveled to Prishtina to perform Doruntine to sold-out houses at Teatri Oda. We then toured to three cities in Kosova, two in Macedonia, and Albania’s capital Tirana. 


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