Israeli artists Lilach Dekel-Avneri and Allex (Liat) Fassberg worked with a group of Kosovan performers to create a show reflecting on identity and history with the support of the Embassy of Israel in Kosovo. The outcome of their work was presented during the fifth edition of the “Kosovo Theatre Showcase” organized by Qendra Multimedia in Prishtina.
Titled “History Now,” the lecture-performance focused on some of the issues that have been at the core of Kosovan identity in recent years, such as the choice between the Kosovan and Albanian national flags and the non-liberalization of visas for Kosovo citizens by the European Union, making them the only nation in the Balkans still isolated. The show also discussed the tradition of hospitality and how Jews in the region were sheltered during World War II.
Dekel-Avneri led a two-week long workshop to create the piece. In the workshop, the participants worked with historical textual materials to create a camera performance, following a technique developed by the Israeli artist and her group “Pathos-Mathos,” which culminated with the creation of the show “The Eichman Project” last year.
“The Eichman Project” focuses on the trial of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, who played a key role in the Holocaust and was captured in Argentina by the Mossad after the war. He stood trial in Israel for his crimes and was eventually executed.
“The Eichmann Trial that took place in 1961 has become a very big myth in Israel, but also a very big taboo,” Fassberg told Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK). “There are very few artistic projects dealing with what the Eichmann Trial did to the Israeli society.”
“This is what we are trying to do,” she added. “We look back at the big question, the myth of local society, and see how it can be examined and deconstructed with performance methods”.
Dekel-Avneri explained that while in Israel her group worked for six years to prepare the show, in Kosovo they only had two weeks.
“The idea for the project arose from a discussion with Jeton [Neziraj, Director of Qendra Multimedia], after “Eichmann project,” she told RTK. “We developed this product as a way of working with actors and cameras, and the idea was to adapt the same patterns and the same concepts that we used and to try them here to create ‘History Now’. This meant bringing stories from the books and presenting them via performances, personal stories and testimonies.”