©Klea Mani | Adriana Tolka
©Klea Mani | Ermira Gjata
©Klea Mani | Ermira Gjata Eni Jani
©Klea Mani | Adriana Tolka Eni Jani Ermira Gjata
©Klea Mani | Eni Jani Ermira Gjata
©3007 | Plakat Gastspiel Wien
A cooperation with the National Theatre of Tirana | Albania
PRESIDENTET in cooperation with the National Theatre ‘Kujtim Spahivogli’ in Tirana is our first cross-border project in the Balkan region.
The working languages were English and Italian, the performance was in Albanian.
They talk in a radical artistic language about being poor, disappointed, full of the desire to be loved, female sexuality … .in a society dominated by the patriarchy and full of prejudices, which are reinforced by religious imprinting.
at the Teatri Eksprimental Kujtim Spahivogli | National Theatre of Tirana | Albania
Premiere on 7 May 2018
15&16 June 2018 at the Rabenhof Theater in Vienna
with Ermira Gjata, Eni Jani, Adriana Tolka
Directed and Set by Sabine Mitterecker Costumes by Sofi Kara
Assistant director Endri Çela
Translated into Albanian by Jonila Godele, the ensemble
REVIEWS | COMMENTS
‘Die Präsidentinnen in Albanian: Werner Schwab conquers Tirana’
Thomas Trenkler | Kurier | 8 June 2018
‘An adventure: Schwab’s guest performance in Tirana now at the Rabenhof Theater’
Petra Paterno | Wiener Zeitung | 14 June 2018
‘Happiness is to be found in an Albanian lavatory’
Sara Schausberger | Falter | 24/2019
Adriana Tolka, Eni Jani and Ermira Gjata are among the country’s most famous actors and have been playing Die Präsidentinnen by Werner Schwab at the Teatri Kombetar Eksperimental Kujtim Spahivogli since May 2018 – the first time that the play has been performed in Albanian.
The guest performance with German surtitles at the Rabenhof Theater in Vienna is aimed at both the Albanian community – some 35,000 native speakers of Albanian live in the city – and the German-speaking Viennese audience.
Their world fits on a kitchen table and a portion of meat is their idea of a good life. In Die Präsidentinnen by Werner Schwab, the female presidents of the title are two women on the minimum state pension and a lavatory attendant with religious delusions, who talk in the highest possible terms about emptiness, material hardship and how unbearable their meaningless lives are. Their triumph is simply being.
Every sentence wrested from the language grants them power. And that has to be fought for, with persuasion, deviousness, and occasionally even with murder and manslaughter. Just like presidents do in the world at large.
Yet there is also the desire for something completely different. For Mariedl, the mystic of the lavatory, rummaging in impurity becomes a premonition of paradisical purity. The lowest of the low is raised to the highest heights, even if it sends her to her doom. Schwab turns the Christian ethics of suffering on its head. He condenses the sighing, moaning and false hopes of the demeaned into incredible linguistic music, into a song in praise of marred existence for three voices.
In his short life, the author Werner Schwab created world literature out of provincial fug and religious blindness. He anticipated the dissolution of social cohesion under neoliberalism at a time when Austrian society believed itself to be an island of the blessed.
June 2018 – guest performance by the National Theatre of Tirana at the invitation of theater.punkt in cooperation with the Rabenhof Theater
Photos and artwork (Tirana) by Klea Mani
Artwork (Vienna) by 3007/Eva Dranaz, Jochen Fill
Production and German surtitles at the Rabenhof Theater by Abdula Dervisovski
Production rights granted by S. Fischer Theater- und Medienverlag
Supported by the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs and Integration, the City of Vienna (guest performance), the Federal Ministry of Arts and Culture