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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 07 | volume II | February-March, 1999



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 07February-March, 1999
Theatre Theory

Theatre in Search of its New Identity

p. 1
Jelena Lužina

    Over the last two years and in fact over the last decade, contemporary Macedonian theatre was marked to a significant degree by deep paradoxes. In order to make this better understood, we will endeavor to explain and describe Macedonian theatrical reality, by first presenting the global context (and not only the cultural context) within which contemporary Macedonian theatre exists. Included in this global context, of course, is the fact that the Republic of Macedonia is a relatively small Balkan country (25,000 sq. km. with approx. 2 million inhabitants), whose 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…). Its present reality is dominated by what is known as the process of transition, which characterizes all the ex-communist countries trying to assimilate other, more democratic life styles.
    Therefore, the paradoxes at present determining to such a great extent Macedonian contemporary theatre are due to the context. We shall define some of the most important ones; the relatively large number of professional theatre institutions (nine) within which 12 permanent troupes operate (ten for theatre, one for ballet and one for opera).
    The relatively large number of actors, singers, dancers and musicians hired on a permanent basis (almost 500!) having generally been trained at the higher education level (complete training in an academy).
    A relatively modest annual production – in terms of quantity – of new plays (thirty premieres at most).
    A relatively small number – again in terms of quantity – of revivals during the course of a year (no more than 1000 performances).
    The relatively large concentration of theatre life in the capital, Skopje. Outside the capital there are five theatre institutions in operation but only one of these, the Bitola National Theatre, reaches a high professional and artistic standard.
    The relatively restricted “mobility”, if not the absence of mobility, of the companies from the capital, that rarely perform anywhere but on the stage of their own Theatre. (If we consider that in Macedonia ballet, opera and children's theatre only have one troupe each, which is also the case of Albanian and Turkish speaking theatre, it seems obvious that the existing model of theatrical organization suffers from being far too “static”).
    The relatively low attendance rate of the theatre public, especially in small towns, and its “preference” for the “lighter” genres (considering the well-known fact that the theatre public

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