"Whites" as a warning about racial and gender issues

"Whites" touches on two main issues within the play: racial and gender. It reflects on the dynamics of society that go in this direction. It starts from the current context in Oklahoma, United States of America, where the author of the play, Steven Leigh Morris, comes from and expands to the global one. These issues are also inevitable in the theater institution. The dramaturgical and directorial elements of Besim Ugzmajli go back to the time when a Roma director brought Moliere's play to the National Theater of Kosovo.

It was the year 2008 when the director from North Macedonia, Rahim Burhan, would commit to the show "Tartufi". After the show, in February of that year, through an article, the academician Mehmet Kraja would call it "one of the most idiotic shows, which the public of Pristina could ever see".

They came to the "Oda" theater as a kind of irony with the event. The theater scene is just one case. It was considered reasonable to adapt the text for the show by the American author, Steven Leigh Morris, in the capital.

Theater in Oklahoma is semi-professional. The artistic director of the theater, Luisi, acts and directs at the same time as Shakespeare's "King Lear". The role is played by the actor Shpëtim Selmani, who waits for the audience on stage by reading the text. His goal is to leave messages to the world with one last performance.

The actor Shpëtim Selmani said that society in Kosovo can freely find itself in the theme of the show.

"Louis is a semi-amateur theater director. It is a topic in which our society can freely find itself, and it is found. The issue of racism is problematic in all societies. Louis is about to die, he tries to do a Shakespeare play - 'King Lear' - and leave a message about how the world is according to him. At the same time he is accused of choosing roles, he is accused of racism by two extreme fundamental wings in America".

Actor Bujar Ahmeti has said that his role is that of the director's supporter who is trying to leave his will.

"Dagu is an actor, naive. Although he is sometimes insulted and conditioned in his work as an actor, he still tries to support and help the director Luis, who plays the role of Salvation, who on the verge of death has a dream: to make the play 'King Lear'".

The show "The Whites" appreciates that in the digital age, not everything is called a premiere. Until the rehearsals of the fourth act of the play are done, the information flows on social networks from the actors themselves: Priscilia, who is played by Verona Koxha and Daugh, who is played by the actor Bujar Ahmeti.

The author of the play, Steven Leigh Morris, has said that the play is adapted to the local context coming from the global one.

"It's an American play, written in an American accent, specifically in Oklahoma, about how transformation starts there and how universal themes develop. We adapted it because if the play was made as I had written it for the play in the United States of America, I don't think it would hold the same place. The director has done a wonderful job with the choreography, with fantastic scenes. They just brought the global theme the way they felt and that was really a kind of freedom."

The director of the show "The Whites", Besim Ugzmajli, said that the show is a kind of prelude to the social discourses that are on the way to society in Kosovo.

"These are discussions related to racial and gender dynamics in many countries of the West, but here they are still unconsumed, untreated. Not completely, but very little. I think that in a short time they will be part of the discussions in our society. The show is a kind of warning about what awaits our society. Not an ominous warning, but simply warning that something interesting will be part of public discourses."

He also mentioned the connection between racial issues in the country's society while talking about the scene in the show where "Tartufi" is spoken about under the direction of the director Rahim Burhan.

"It is our intervention. Due to the content of the show we decided to make some correlations. The intervention that has been made is real, it is published, it exists. There was a long discussion, in 2008, for purely racial reasons, not because of the quality of the show, but because of the nationality of the director of the show. We have seen it more appropriate in our opinion to put it more clearly as a kind of recapitulation of what they have seen, put it more clearly in their minds and connect our environment with racial dynamics".

The show brings fragments of a classic show that the public in the capital has not experienced for years. It comes as a kind of irony, for prejudices that they are out of fashion.