Despite climbing numbers of Covid-19 cases and new restrictions, the Talia e Flakës festival, intended to promote Albanian drama, was held in Gjilan, Kosovo, over six-days in January.
The festival is part of the National Manifestation “Flaka e Janarit” (The Flame of January) that is held in Gjilan with the aim of promoting art, culture and national heritage. “Flaka e Janarit” first started in 1991 and it is a cultural festival that is held at start of the year. It opens with the symbolic ‘lighting the flame’ and encompasses various cultural activities, taking place from 11th to 31st of January each year.
Before the opening ceremony of lighting the flame, participants pay homage to the nation’s martyrs and visit the Kosovo Army barracks. The festival is an attempt to combine history and the concept of nation with culture and art, bringing art closer to the people.
Opening with a production by Ilir Bokshi, the festival featured four performances. There were six performances in the initial schedule, but three troupes were unable to perform as a result of the the pandemic. In the end, The Giants, by the Gjilan Theater, Aroma of the Moon by the National Theater of Kosovo, and GOF by the Metropol Theater of Tirana, were shown in accordance with the program.
The play 5 Days King by the Andon Zako Çajupi Theater from Korça cancelled its participation due to the new anti-COVID-19 measures imposed by Kosovo, which have made it more difficult for foreigners to enter the country.
The plays Marxists and Leninists of Switzerland by Ferizaj’s Adriana Theater and the play Stiffler, produced by Integra’, were cancelled because members of the company had COVID-19. The play The Giants replaced the play Marxists and Leninists of Switzerland, while the Oda Theater’s production of Inspector Limi replaced Stiffler.
Awards were handed out at the end of the festival. The Giants won the award Best Performance, as well as the awards for Best Director for Ilir Bokshii and Best Scenography for Bekim Korça Best Costume Design fr Vesa Krajas.
The award for Best Original Drama was given to Mehmet Kraja, for the play Aroma of the Moon. The Best Actor award was given to Adrian Morina, for the his performance i;Inspector Limi and the Best Actress award was given to Donikë Ahmeti, for the role in the play Aroma of the Moon.
The award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role went to Endrit Ahmetaj for his role in the play GOF. The award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role went to Daniela Markaj, for Inspector Limi.
Main image: Daniela Markaj in Inspector Limi by ODA Theater
Flamur Dardeshi is a freelance writer based in Tirana. He has contributed in the areas of translation, analysis, and poetry. His main fields of interest are literature, cinematography, and theatre.