International Theatre InstitutE -UNESCO                          

Macedonian Centre

Dear Friends and Colleagues!

The Macedonian ITI Centre has the honour to congratulate you on this World Theatre Day,
27-th of March 2004, which marks the lofty aims and ideas of the world theatre family.

On this occasion, I am sending to you Macedonian Message written by the well known writer/
playwright Venko ANDONOVSKI, PhD, Prof. and Dean of the Faculty of Philology in Skopje,
which is an integral part of Macedonian theatre live. 

With expressions of gratitude for our successful cooperation to date and the best of wishes for the future prosperity and growth of THE POWER OF THEATRE in Macedonia and elsewhere,

Yours friendly,


Secretary General


Venko Andonovski
Writer/ playwright, Macedonia

Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the art of masquerade. From the rituals that I have seen in different parts of my Macedonia, trough the carnivals, up until the first theatre shows, those meant for children, in which the artists fully mask themselves, disguising their identity. In being someone else, not being known at lest for a moment- lays that dangerous, passionate, lascivious yet pedagogic, perverse yet virtuous, sweet yet bitter fraise in which is found, at least in a way, the phenomenon called theatre.

The theoreticians of games say that those who put on a mask feel a specific sort of trance,
especially in the rituals of the exotic tribes and that they come to the point of some sort of a catharsis - because of the simple fact that they know that although to the crowd they are someone else, they are, however, themselves. In that fluctuation between identity and alteration,
between “myself” and “not-myself”, lays, according to the anthropologists, the euphoric feeling of the masked person. During that, the act of masking itself is an act of deepest humane optimism: everyone of us, even the worst person, can be someone else. A better person. That is the most humane sort of optimism of the act of masking oneself, its physiology. And of course, its philosophy.

That simple phrase (“ To be someone else”) has a double meaning, and especially today has something diabolic within, something almost demonic, since for a while it hasn't been used only by those who spend their lifetime in the theatre. It is used by all of those who rule, so they can disguise their true identity and easily manipulate the crowd.

Unfortunately, that powerful and spiritual sentence (“to be someone else”), is moved more and more from the zone of the anthropological and the game world, into the zone of the ideological and the political world. Just look at the mass hypnosis that the masked totalitarians of the past century have created; note how much spilt blood was the cost of the ritual of political masquerade! On this sacred day of ours, we have to underline: it is dangerous to give the act of masquerade to those who do not understand its anthropological dimension, do not understand it as a game, just as it is. It is dangerous and irresponsible to give that act to those who look for and find pragmatism within it- therefore today, the art of theatre stands before its greatest challenge in front of which one of the arts that deservingly has been called the oldest of arts can find itself: to give back the sacredness of the mask, to pull her back from the ordinarities of the daysand the politics and to return it where it belongs - in the mythical and mystical space of  the ancient proscenium.

The semiologists have persuaded us into believing that not only the political totalitarians, but us too, the mere mortals, very often use the mask as part of the sociable communication. Daily we play the roles out of the theatre, in the real life: the role of the jealous husband, the helpless woman, the role of the severe administrator, the role of the successful businessman, the role of a talented writer. All of us select different masks and put them on our faces, each of us according to our powers of suggestion and persuasion of the other. People are divided into those able to suggest and and those who easily fall under suggestions; the first kind rule the world, the other are their slaves. In such a world if the mask is put back on the face of the great Protagonist (such a beautiful name for the Only actor who gave his body to the world as the body of Jesus Christ), only then will we be able to clarify the delusion of the act of masquerade: ready to become someone else are only those who have spiritually evolved for such a sacred change, to whom the mask will become a face, not a crutch!

Long live Theatre! 




Goran Stefanovski

Playwright Macedonia


All living creatures are born with a survival instinct.  Spiders have a perfect inborn instinct to spin webs.  Human beings have a perfect inborn instinct to spin stories - stories about who they are, what they are, where they come from and where they are going.  For us there is nothing more important than these stories. They are the essence of our life, the backbone of our identity.   

Identity is a story about who we are, why we are and what we want.  In order for us to be able to survive in the cruel world, this story must be correct, it must be based on exact knowledge of the terrain, on deep insight, on a precise blueprint.  An incorrect story can be very costly, it can lead us to delusion, to a dead-end, to death.  As our landscape is ever-changing, so this story must be in a constant process of readjustment.  The story is a map.  If the map does not correspond to the landscape, we are lost, as in a jungle. 

From early childhood we are hungry for stories.  Through stories we study life, we prepare for it.  We learn about contrasts, contradictions, conflicts - we learn the drama of our lives: Little Red Riding Hood against the wolf, good against evil, love against hate, truth against lies, “what is” against “what seems”, Hamlet against Elsinor. 

We have a heartfelt need to understand our story, to see our reflection, to recognise our face, to take courage.  We yearn to compare our story with other stories, to examine where they are the same, where similar and where totally different. We crave a master storyteller who will read the runes for us, take off the masks, connect the causes and the consequences, offer us signposts. 

The story is sometimes an unarticulated shriek, sometimes a harmonic melody; sometimes dark and opaque like an ex-ray image, sometimes colourful and merry like a fairytale, sometimes funny or terrible, or indeed sometimes both.  But one thing is clear: no culture can survive without a true, powerful and authentic story!  Indeed culture IS a true, powerful and authentic story.

Theatre is a mighty workshop and an engine for storytelling. In the theatre the story is not only TOLD, but also SHOWN.  It happens here and now, in front of us – it is within our reach.  Theatre is a battlefield on which we sharpen the tools of our story, we weave its tapestry, we flex the muscle of our consciousness and our conscientiousness, we adjust the sights of our action, we balance our history and our fate.   

On behalf of my Macedonian sisters and brothers-in-arms, it is my honour to congratulate all theatre-makers on their work on this World Day of the Theatre 2003 and to wish them further great success in the telling of our stories – of our truth about who we have been, who we are and who we want to become.




SASHKO NASEV                                                                                                       Playwright, Macedonia


Politicians held speeches. A war started. Many children became orphans. It is a war. At each spring one Richard the Third drinks water. They are fighting for power. Then came the silence. End of the tragedy. Dead are audience with taste! - Oh, yes! - For someone, new mounds are wonderful scenography. Someone else, on the other hand needs more actors without legs. The theatre, one with blood and a heart torn off in a palm, has surprised us.

Skomrahs are coming. The make bows, play tricks and sing cheerful arias! - They are fighting the death at night - and during the day they are fighting for life. It is hard. They are making theatre for young and old people. They let out hope! - If the tragedy is war, is the name of the comedy peace? - It is important - more important than life - a theatre is being played! - Performances are dancing. The air is burning the eyes, but the curtain is not falling down! - It is a desire, do not look for sense in the theatre!

The play is a law. A hero and a young man. Word above constitutions. A song. Like the one about Dionysus, the god and Maenad, the dancer. When they expelled Aeschylus from the Mountain of Shara the two of them were presenting theatre. They were performing grandiose subjects in the woods. And the gods were twisting their moustache. Armies from three sides came. Foreign, ours and neutral. It wasn't a rhapsody. It is more like catharsis!

Theatre are the people! - Then everything else. It is Sisyphus' torment and Falstaf's joy. It knows no crises. The world is born in it. As we wish to see it. The world as a response to the necessity that pulls us for our ankles. And we want to jump. To jump over the torment. To stop moaning in front of the churches with frescoes made blind and Holy Mothers desecrated, to stop mourning the fires in the mosques.

We are going forward - a new theatre is coming! - Even stronger! - Without frontiers and global! - Ours. Let the generals, phalanges and bombs be illustrations. Let them be only in the plays. We are talking about life. Let the thirsty drink and the hungry eat! - And what about us? - We will play for them! - We will present a theatre without a penny, like Chernodrinski one century ago!

Many children became orphans. It was a war. They are growing up and will become strong men. One of them will become director. Another one is already an actor, the third one wants to be a prompter. They will give performances to educate people, about that how a man should be brother to another man, not a wolf! - Friends, travelling companions in the magic of the plays and the music, the theatre is the law. It is the people! - Was and will be! - A desire and a passion it is, we should not be looking for a sense and reason! - It is greater than the whole death, greater than gods. Simply - there is no one, nothing and there isn't a way to oppose to the theatre. Its glory is eternal, its holiday is sacred.


Skopje, Wed, 02 May 2001 18:01:16 +0200

Mr. André-Louis PERINETTI - Secretary General

Ms. Jennifer M. WALPOLE - Assistant Executive


The European Theatre Convention & EFAH
with a little help from my Friends...



Dear Friends,

Hi! Macedonia is your friend!! Don't forget, at the beginning of the new millennium, as a sign of support of the International Year for the Culture of Peace of the United Nations Organization - UNESCO, in agreement with MANIFESTO 2000 - MOT International Theatre Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary with the subject THE POWER OF THEATRE (for the culture of peace
and no violence)!!!

One more time, the Macedonian ITI Centre has the honour to congratulate you on this World Theatre Day, 27-th of March 2001, which marks the lofty aims and ideas of the world theatre family.

On this occasion, in Macedonian theatres all over the country performances were begun with a reading of the International Message (translated into Macedonian) of Yakovos KAMPANELLIS, playwright from Greece, and with our own National Message written by the well-known playwright Jordan PLEVNES, the Republic of Macedonia's Ambassador to France and UNESCO, as well a tradition since 1997, which is an integral part of Macedonian theatre live (I am sending you version translated into English and French language).

Macedonian television prepared special news on the evening of the 27th March, in the main focus of which was the history of the World Theatre Day and Macedonian theatre now. The Messages was published in daily news and magazines, as well as a reading on the radio and other televisions. Actors
communities traditionally celebrated this day with musical/ concert evening  - "Actors singing".

MEDIA PROMOTION - The Macedonian ITI Centre is launching several volumes,which will make a significant contribution to its activity in affirming Macedonian Theatre worldwide:
1. Macedonian ITI Centre has just published its new book: TEN MODERN MACEDONIAN PLAYS (translated into English), selected and with an introduction by dr.Jelena Luzina in collaboration with publisher Matica Makedonska.
2. WORLD OF THEATRE 2000, publication of ITI UNESCO with a text by Ivan Dodovski on theatre in Macedonia.
3. WORLD THEATRE DIRECTORY, a prestige publication by ITI UNESCO with, for the first time, a section on theatre lives in Macedonia (also on ITI UNESCO web site).
4. European Theatre Today: THE PLAYS 4 (published of the European Theatre Convention) including for the first time Macedonian playwrights Dejan Dukovski, Jordan Plevnes and Goran Stefanovski.

With expressions of gratitude for our successful cooperation to date and the best of wishes for the future prosperity and growth of THE POWER OF THEATRE - in Macedonia and elsewhere, as of art and culture in general, we hope that you will mark our activity according the twenty-seventh of March, the World Theatre Day.

PS. VOTE FOR PEACE! I hope this is not too late doing it now!!
Thanks in advance.

Yours friendly,

Secretary General of the Macedonian ITI Centre




Jordan PLEVNES                                   Playwright,                                                                                                                         Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia in France and UNESCO

In Macedonia even the air smells of theatre. At the very beginning of the third millennium A.D., on the international stage, Macedonia is again on the first pages of the world media, not because of the word theatre, but because of the word for armed action with a black name - terror.  

Maybe terror wants to destroy the word theatre on the Macedonian soil, because of the following unquestionable reasons:  

Macedonia has the greatest number of excavated, not to mention unexcavated, antique and roman amphitheatres, per caput in the Balkan's and in Europe. In Macedonia, under an antique orchestra from the 3rd century BC, a perfectly preserved skeleton of an Unknown princess who lived seventeen centuries before us, and next to her diadem, lachrymatory was found recently by Ohrid archaeologists, in which in fresh condition were preserved her tears! Maybe the terror wants to deny Macedonia’s precedence as a world recorder in preserving tears!  

Macedonia also has the greatest number of frescoes and icons with theatre motives per caput, which provoked excitement in 111,893 during the exhibition “Medieval heritage of Macedonia” in the Cluny museum in Paris;  

Macedonia has a very great number of Ottoman monuments and pearls of Ottoman culture in which even today theatre is played: Imaret in Ohrid, Suli An, Kursumli An, Daut Pasa Amam in Skopje, Arabati Baba Teke in Tetovo and Bitola’s Jeni Mosque;  

Macedonia is the first country from the former eastern block, in which the foundation was laid of a Museum of the holocaust, during which a ceremony was performed and sung in the Ladini language in memory of the numerous - Sephardic Jews, who went on their way with no return, towards the camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka;  

In Macedonia there is the great number of professional theatres per caput in the Balkan's, in which performances are given in Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish and the Romany language.   

In Macedonia, theatre is performed everywhere, as Kantor and Grotowski and Ljubimov and Vitez and Shero could see.   

In Macedonia, as the great Croatian writer Krleza said, “Even the Holy Mother is played to with a tapan” - Be happy Holy Mother, Maria.  

And where in all this is the problem of theatre and terror?  

In the Balkan's, between Vukovar, Bosnia and Kosovo, a great number of international experts are still working on the excavation of mass graves from the last decade of the twentieth century.  

In Macedonia, our archaeologists are working on the excavation of one of the most beautiful amphitheatres in Europe - Lychnidos, in Ohrid, that Slavic Jerusalem, that Balkan Venice. For 12th July this year, for the opening ceremony of Ohrid Summer Festival, Macedonia asked the great name of the world theatre, Peter Brook, to open it with a message for peace which will start the new life of the theatre dream, in which there are no borders.  

To the terror that wants to open up new mass graves in the Balkan's, Macedonia answers with the excavation of a new amphitheatre.

After two thousand and five hundred years of silence, in that same amphitheatre, his majesty the actor will play music for the truth, and will dance, because after all, like its beauty, Macedonia is eternal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Message Macédoine 2001




Jordan PLEVNES                                                                                                  Auteur dramatique,                                                                                                     Ambassadeur de la République de Macédoine en France et auprès de l’UNESCO


En Macédoine, l’air même est embaumé par l’odeur du théâtre. A l’aube du troisième millénaire après J.C., ce pays revient à la Une des médias mondiaux, non pas à cause de son théâtre mais à cause des extrémistes incarnant le sombre nom – terreur.

Il se peut que la terreur, gênée par les faits indéniables, essaie de détruire le théâtre sur le sol macédonien. 

La Macédoine possède le plus grand nombre d’amphithéâtres antiques et romains, déjà découverts, et ne parlons pas de ceux qui sont toujours sous terre, per capita dans les Balkans et en Europe. C’est en Macédoine où sous un Orchestre antique du III-ème siècle avant J.C., les archéologues ont récemment découvert le squelette, parfaitement conservé, d’une Princesse inconnue, qui a vécu il y a dix-sept siècles. A côté de son diadème, se trouvait un lacrimarium contenant toujours ses larmes ! Il se peut que la terreur essaie de contester la suprématie de la Macédoine en matière de record mondial de conservation des larmes! 

La Macédoine possède le plus grand nombre de fresques et d’icônes aux motifs théâtraux per capita dans les Balkans, qui ont suscité de 111.893 enchantements lors de l’exposition "Les Trésors médiévaux de la Macédoine" au Musée parisien Cluny; 

La Macédoine possède le plus grand nombre de monuments et de perles de la culture ottomane où le théâtre est joué même de nos jours, tels que : Imarette à Ohrid, Souli An, Kourchoumlie An, Daute Pacha Hammam à Skopje, Arabati Baba-Téké à Tetovo et la Mosquée Yéni à Bitola;

La Macédoine est le premier pays de l’Europe du Sud- Est où on a posé les fondements d’un Musée d’holocauste dont la cérémonie d’ouverture comprenaient les chants et les danses en langue ladino à la mémoire de nombreux juifs –séfarades, partis sur les chemins sans retour menant à Treblinka et Auschwitz; 

En Macédoine existent le plus grand nombre de théâtres professionnels per capita dans les Balkans où on joue en langue macédonienne, albanaise, turque et rom. 

En Macédoine on joue le théâtre par tout comme pouvaient le constater Kantor, Grotowski, Lioubimov, Vitez et Chéreau. 

En Macédoine, "même la Sainte Vierge dense au tambour" a écrit le grand écrivain croate Krleza. 

Où se situe donc le problème entre le théâtre et la terreur

Dans les Balkans, entre Vukovar, la Bosnie et le Kosovo, un grand nombre d’experts internationaux travaillent toujours sur le déterrement des charnières de la dernière décennie du XX ème siècle.

En Macédoine, nos archéologues travaillent sur le déterrement d’un de plus bel amphithéâtre en Europe – "Lychnidos" à Ohrid, ce Jérusalem slave, cette Venise balkanique. Pour son inauguration du 12 juillet cette année, le message de paix de Peter Brook marquera une nouvelle vie du rêve théâtral sans frontières.

A la terreur qui veut découvrire de nouvelles charnières dans les Balkans, la Macédoine répond en découvrant de nouvel amphithéâtre

Après deux milles cinq cent années de silence, dans ce même amphithéâtre, Sa Majesté l’Acteur jouera, et la Vérité, elle, elle dansera car, après tout, comme sa beauté, la Macédoine est éternelle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           




DEJAN DUKOVSKI                                                                                                          Playwright, Macedonia


eXistenZ and Performanse

Balkan towns have become theatre stages at the end of the XX century. Generals have their promotion. Dreams have turned into nightmares. Scenery of the performance are bodies in mud, refugees in lines, homes destroyed, bridges destroyed, barbed wires, borders, visas, prisons … The scenery is massive. It will last for a while.

And so will the feeling of fear … Life imitates theatre.

The performance will end. Generals will leave. Someone will have to rebuild. To clean up. Art can rebuild destroyed values of life. Artists will have the experience of truth. The truth is always cruel. The experience is painful. Theatre will start imitating life again. The reality of history will become lie. The unreality of the theatre will become truth.

These days when someone asks me where am I from, it is easiest for me to answer from the state of theatre. In the real world of theatre my state does not have identity problem. There are no borders and visas.

Theatre is free. There is no such man who has a key to lock up the house called theatre.

Someone said - this is a real world around me, I am just waiting for it to go away ….

- We are made from the same material like dreams and this short life is all wraped in dream - but,

- There is a certain system in the madness of the politicians -

We should always quote Shakespeare.

 eXistenZ and Performanse






Kole Chashule                                                                                                 Playwright, Macedonia


Let us, then, ask ourselves this evening:

Is there any sense whatsoever in believing in the future of the Theatre today and in this place? In the midst of such crazed, anti-creative and intellectually impoverished times? In a world existing on the mire of ruined value criteria? In the presence of a world-wide threat of anonymity and the dictatorship of kitsch?

There is! Theatre has from time immemorial been a human need. Man’s confession and his mirror. His tenet. His consolation. His memory over and through the centuries. His wisdom and his strength.

The theatre existed even before writing, and it will exist even after electronics.

There is no human thought which is not a dialogue with oneself and, as such, a supremely dramatic situation. In which the human being himself sets the scene, arranges the props, acts, directs and- in the end- lowers the curtain. On the stage he is also in the theatre, at one and the same time. He is non-existent without them. Herein, for me, lies the answer to how the theatre has survived all the plagues of ostracism, pestilences and ideological darkness.

It will survive this misfortune too.

I will put forward, this evening, only one single argument, our argument!

This land has never in the course of its entire literary and theatrical history experienced such a powerful surge of young writers and exceptional talents as now. Look around and you will see that they are present, that new ones are on the horizon and that passionately and giftedly they repudiate the reality that surrounds them which would otherwise suffocate them with its anti-intellectualism and creative impotence.

I vouch for them as insurgents, which gives me a right, in the face of all the pleas of the everyday, to say:

I believe!