Culture Supplement

Civilizational aporia and Muji e Halili in Pristina

Descriptive Text

The peak of the absurd is the arrival of the Kreshniks in Pristina, which is no longer the former landscape, but a strange urbanosphere where the heroes can hardly find themselves. There we have Muji roaming around Pristina, even in discotheques when he fights with security officers. The violence of the Kreshniks is such that it is mediated and no one has an explanation for it. That's why the show "Charles III", directed by Agon Myftari with text by Jeton Neziraj, becomes a pioneer to give a slap to the ruling party: thus, the Minister of the Interior, Xelal Sveçla, comes alive only with the question: " Isn't Mitrovica a thing?", but does not provide an explanation for the "external" force that has invaded Pristina

The incomprehensibility of the times when they happen to be confronted simultaneously is the ideal occasion to put to the tail the vices, the hiccups and the cultural norms. Those that once exuded splendor and glory now seem ridiculous, and what are now the greatest ideals seem ridiculous in the eyes of the people who populate the past. The epic of the Kreshniks, that cold alpine world where the scale of events is beyond human, is rarely touched upon in our culture. A long-awaited excursion through the cycle of the Kreshniks, dissecting absurdities and arguing between times, is palpable in the comedy show "Charles III" directed by Agon Myftari and text by Jeton Neziraj.

This play, which premiered as early as December of last year - with the demanding interpretation of the actors Dukagjin Podrimaj, Blend Sadiku, Vjosë Tasholli, Albina Krasniqi and Dardan Gashi - is one of those theatrical productions that gains more and more strength over time . From the totality of the play, which lasts a little more than an hour and a half, almost every bit and detail alludes directly or indirectly to some person, development, event or local and global process—even this is made more beautiful by the transtime walk from the Middle Ages to the present day. ours and vice versa.

The other as hell

Although minimalistic, the scenography of the show "Charles III" succeeds in the typification of the Cresnian human sphere. In searching eyes, maybe the pastoral melos should be used even more strongly, which would blend into the psychedelic time travel. For any observant Albanianologist, usages such as "Sokole Halil" could have been avoided, which in this form only represents the vocative case of the South Slavic linguistic environment. This has been done for a long time and is the reason for great disputes whether the Creshnika songs were borrowed from the Slavs or borrowed from the Albanians to the Slavs. But these are tropes that do not at all hinder faith in the first dramaturgical "experiment" with this cultural fund that makes the Western Balkans stand out. And in which cultural or intercultural production was the "Other" more pronounced than in the epic corpus with Muji and Halil? Here "The Other" plays the role of both the necessity of the constitution of our world (if we were to quote the German philosopher Edmund Husserl), and of imagining as hell the one who is not like us (if we were to quote the point of view of the French philosopher and writer , Jean-Paul Sartre).

As much as the logic of our epic, and thus also the dramaturgical game of "Charles III", is the war within the human species, its displacement in time is a good opportunity to reveal intrapsychic conflicts, but also to deconstruct different characters with through introspection of their psychological world with certain weaknesses, insecurities and gaps.

Transhuman measure and the meaninglessness of time

The first part of the show can really lag or not follow the beautiful idea of ​​the show enough, even certain scenes go between seconds of monotony. But, perhaps the good effect of art is precisely in the mystery of each scene, which instead of being explained should be experienced as such. The wise experiment with the epic is when, instead of the opponents who have always been proverbial as the kingdoms with which the strong boys of Jutbina and Kladusha clashed, now for the first time they are in a confrontation that is not even the opposition until in the end there is no war to the end: it is the meeting with Great Britain.

The fabulous longevity of the heroes of the Epos is what has always enthralled the listener of the lute-sung rhapsodies. Therefore, Muji and Halili have been immortalized precisely for their power, sinned with fairy milk, where their every action and deed is almost superhuman. The suspended epic logic, therefore, makes their physiological processes also governed by other laws. Word comes, the sleep of the Kreshnik race lasts for centuries, and the lives of mere mortals are not enough to see them through to the end. Ah, what a plasm of great literature: so-and-so can take as many occasions as you like, like the Irish hero Oisin, the literary protagonist Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving or the American in King Arthur's court by Mark Twain.

In all these written and oral literatures, the hero either comes from antiquity to the present or travels from the present to the past; a situation that can bring nothing but value collision. Let us now single out an excerpt from the play "Charles III": the sting is also put to the cultural tradition, more precisely to the unbearable ease of making unnecessary quarrels (one case is when one of the heroes of the Epic kills the other just because he took his shadow ).

Image
The beauty of such a dramaturgical dressing of our epic is that it leaves no room for modernist notions to make final judgments (Photo: Multimedia Center)

Beyond modernist notions

The beauty of such a dramaturgical dressing of our epic is that it leaves no room for modernist notions to make final judgments. Yes, there are moments and moments when a complaining voice is heard internally about the status of women in the past, but there are other times when the show portrays women in the historical context as slaves of time, as men were also slaves. Her portrayal is done as sarcastic and talkative, sometimes without content, and often ignorant.
However, the penetration into the spirit of the time, as far as such experimentation allows, does not spare the men and all the peasantry that brought that frontier world where there was almost never peace, but only promises, robbery and violence. It is perhaps from the first times where the sexuality of the epic characters is also mentioned.

It is that world, for our tastes perhaps too reduced to brute force, that sees the subjugation of the other in terms of sexual potency where your "slave" becomes exactly yours when you come across a strong cock. This voice, perhaps not noticed in the course of the play, is also encountered when the English researcher named "Edith" falls into Halil's hands; this attachment to her husband causes her to alienate her identity and become "Tanushë". The shortcoming of the show did not remain only with the heroes of Jutbina; now the English are also flocking to the land of heroes, but as members of KFOR, that is, as peacekeepers. No war, no squabbles, gentlemen!

Without a doubt: the excesses are mutual, even when the locals rob "Mrs. Z" who pretends to be Charles III's cousin, even when the king himself speaks loudly against the barbarism and primitivism of the modern "Kreshniks". Far from empty phrases about colonizers and colonized, the show can also be experienced as a reminder to question our moral puritanism: not all the behans came from outside, from foreigners, but they already had their hundreds of years of life.

The Kreshniks mock the Minister of the Interior...and the government

The peak of the absurd is the arrival of the Kreshniks in Pristina, which is no longer the former landscape, but a strange urbanosphere where the heroes can hardly find themselves. There we have Muji roaming around Pristina, even in discotheques when he fights with security officers. The violence of the Kreshniks is such that it is mediated and no one has an explanation for it. That's why the show becomes a pioneer to give a slap to the ruling party: thus, the Minister of the Interior, Xelal Sveçla, comes alive only with the question: "Isn't Mitrovica a thing?", but does not give an explanation for the "external" force. that has occupied Pristina. In this way, the heroes of Jutbina become a separate opposition to Vetëvendosje, which through the issue of the north (also a kind of "border" like Jutbina and Kladusha against the lands of the krajli) neglects acute social issues. In the eyes of our violent heroes, perhaps a dark Pristina is coming where the Xhelals and blue uniforms are not visible: nocturnal Pristina with overuse and abuse of drugs, living in despair and resignation. However, the mejdani, or grand finale, shifts to London: on the one hand, Charles III's Englishmen looking for the kidnapped girl (Ms. Z), and, on the other, our brave men seeking to free Halil who awaits supreme execution. The war, perhaps as in the vortex of the epic, is said to go on and on ad infinitum. The fight with the other is apocalyptic, so even Charles III and Muja e Halili are divided equally (gentleman's agreement is this?!) This does not close the show, because we are left with the impression that, beyond the Huntingtonian clashes, it is human destinies that give them color life and era.