Bitola Shakespeare Festival 2015


20.07.2015 – Press

22.07.2015 Opening ceremony – Antony and Cleopatra

When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon my self and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate.
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

W. Shakespeare

Instead of delivering an address for the Third Bitola Shakespeare Festival
Blagoj Micevski, artistic director

Shakespeare’s great historical tragedy was written in 1606 – the final play of an astounding quartet of tragedies, preceded by Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. Many (me included) would consider Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare’s most difficult play, and his sublime artistic achievement. It stretches the limits of the stage to their breaking point, presents a sweep of action and situation unparalleled in Shakespeare and most drama, and depicts characters that are incredibly complex, richly nuanced, and constantly contradictory. Antony and Cleopatra shows the intoxicating affects of Power and Desire, and chronicles the seismic shifts that occurred in much of the civilized world in the waning years of the final millennium BCE. It is also Shakespeare’s highest achievement in terms of verbal poetry. As English scholar G. Wilson Knight says, “in such poetry, we are less aware of any surface than of a turbulent power, a heave and swell, from deeps beyond verbal definition; and as, the thing progresses, a gathering of power, a ninth wave of passion, an increase in tempo and intensity.” This production seeks to harness the play’s turbulent power and create waves of passion that grow and swell and break over an audience. I am deeply honored to direct the first production of this play in the Macedonian language, in a rich new translation by the incomparable Dragi Mihajlovski, and thrilled to collaborate with the tremendous artists of the Bitola National Theatre.

John Blondell, director

23.07.2015 Imaginarium

23.07.2015 “Much Ado about Nothing”

National Theatre – Sombor, Serbia

Our play is composed as a dream. That is not an individual dream where the play separately and unconsciously addresses the personality of the dreamer; it’s a dream dreamt by the entire humanity, a unique kind of “compensating dream”, a dream that shows the reality as it should be. The dream represents a sequence of moving images that affect the primordial instinct and the fantasy, with such a power that galvanizes the action, power that enlightens the soul with irrational optimism and purifies the emotions from everything minor, mundane and restraining.  A wedding should be saved in our play, bonding of two sexes in a union of love, a mystique act where the harmony triumphs over chaos; wedding as a symbol of the triumph of the entirety over the world torn apart between male and female, black and white, sense and sensibility, up and down, left and right; wedding as a spiritual and emotional phenomenon – moment when two persons merge into an absolute acceptance. Every being that has seen the light of the day, strives to perfection. And it carries that strive as a sign of its personality, regardless of being aware or unaware of it. The human being spends his whole life in search for the perfection. And on his way to achieve it, everything conspires against that goal. The forces of chaos are constantly and relentlessly tempting us and struggle to undermine the unity. We carry those forces in us. They are part of the human nature.

They are persistent and they never consent to being conquered completely. And in our “dream”, that “enchanted garden”, the wedding is saved by lunatics. Our heroes are those who observe the world as “fools”. One huge injustice that leads to devastation is healed by the inferior, mentally and physically weak, the ignorant, the oppressed, for the foolish around and within us, have a better perception of reality and its truth rather than the wise and the clever ones. The childish, the foolish, the common, the drunk part in us that plays and imagines, fantasizes and constantly commits itself to one illogical love to life as it is – that part from us can see everything.

Ana Gjorgjevik



NI National Theatre Bitola

Workshop – developing dramatic texts inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnets in association with Macedonian ITI Centre

Moderator: Ivanka Apostolova, local co-organizer, Macedonian ITI Centre
Speaker: Randall Martin – Shakespearean, Canada


Biljana Krajchevska – dramaturge, Macedonia
Jovan Ristovski – director, Macedonia
Angjelco Ilievski – director, Macedonia
Mirna Rustemovik – dramaturge, Croatia
Ivana Purusa – performer and political scientist, Macedonia
Actors NI National Theatre Bitola, Macedonia
Lit MoonTheatre Company- Santa Barbara, California, USA


25.07.2015 Hamlet

A Lit Moon Show, Homemade in Santa Barbara, California

Adapted and Directed by: John Blondell
Scenography by: Milon Kalis
Costumes by: The Company
Original score created and performed by: Jim Connolly
Lighting by: Jonathan Hicks
Stage manager: Danielle Draper

The Persons of the Play, in the order they appear

CLAUDIUS, King of Denmark: Stanley Hoffman
GERTRUDE, Queen of Denmark: Victoria Finlayson
HAMLET, Prince of Denmark: Jeff Mills
GHOST OF OLD HAMLET, Former King of Denmark: Stanley Hoffman
OPHELIA, a young woman, daughter of Polonius: Victoria Finlayson
LAERTES, a young man, son of Polonius: Mitchell Thomas
POLONIUS, Lord Chamberlain: Mitchell Thomas
A GRAVEDIGGER: Mitchell Thomas

Lit Moon’s Hamlet has occupied a central place in its repertory, on and off, since 2001.  The show was conceived with Prague-based scenographer Milon Kalis, with whom the company worked consistently during the early 2000’s, until his tragic and untimely death in 2006.  It enjoys both local and international recognition, and has played at numerous Lit Moon festivals, the International Festival at the National Theatre of China, the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival, the Fireman’s Theatre in Prague, the Montreal Wildside Festival, and the Montreal Fringe (Best Performance).

The production displays many of the company’s signature theatrical elements:  a physicalized approach to acting, radical dramaturgy of classical texts, and a highly visual approach to Shakespeare’s material.  Central to the show is its paper scenography, which creates a membrane between life and death, and becomes a partner to the play’s action.  The paper begins clean and pure; it ends… well, you will see… We are thrilled to be here, and to play our Hamlet for the terrific audiences in Bitola.



NI Turkish Theatre – Skopje, Macedonia

Director: Aleksandar Popovski

Author: William Shakespeare
Directed by: Aleksandar Popovski
Scenography by: Sven Jonke
Costume design by: Jelena Prokovik
Original score: Kiril Djajkovski
Assistant director: Ivana Angelkovska


Theseus: Atila Klinche
Hippolyta: Suzan Akbelge
Egeus: Tamer Ibrahim
Lysander: Osman Ali
Demetrius: Selpin Kerim
Hermia: Filiz Ahmet / Nesrin Tair
Helena: Slagjana Vujoshevik
Peter Quince: Aksel Mehmet
Nick Bottom: Djenap Samet
Francis Flute: Neat Ali
Tom Snout: Erman Shaban
Snug: Rijad Tahir
Starveling: Tamer Ibrahim
Oberon: Atila Klinche
Titania: Suzan Akbelge
Puck: Salaetin Bilal
Fairy: Rosana Stefanova
Fairy:  Sara Cvetkovska

Stage manager: Ramadan Ibrahim
Organisation: Muhamed Bakiovski
Manager: Atila Klinche


We are all concerned with the meaning of love, the dream, the mirage, the ideology while the dream is composed of all these elements. In a sense, the dream is radical because we have left the dreaming, that is even out of date. We can not find dreams at the market, nowadays. The world of fantasy, myths, sub consciousness – according to me, the world of beauty – is embraced with a curtain, behind which we rarely take a look.

We had no intention in this play to fully separate the reality and the dream; overall, the play may be a dream of an old man, perhaps Puck’s, perhaps the actor’s who played Puck. This play for me is one sphere, consisting of another sphere and another… Dream within the dream dream… This dream continues till the end of Puck’s monologue that we have “borrowed” from Prospero, for he is Puck at the same time, just as A Midsummer Night’s Dream partly shares the same text with The Tempest

Aleksandar Popovski


27.07. 2015 SONNEN ON SONNET 116

Solo performance, Guy Sonnen, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Whatever art gives or takes from me and where ever art
brings me, from start to finish there is always love!
Whatever live brings to the world, beauty, birth or hunger
devastation, dementia, broken relations, betrayal, solitude,
pain, anger, war, nothingness, death, whatever misery,
love will always be there.
Wil Shakespeare goes in his sonnet beyond all misery, beyond
death, yes, further than the infinity, cause love bears it out
even to the edge of doom…
I want to express my deep gratitude to Carla Shoo, Marijan Nekak and Blagoj Micevski.

Inspired by Sonnet 116, W. Shakespeare.

Guy Sonnen


28.07.2015 Romeo and Juliet

Theatre “Raco Stojanov” – Gabrovo, Bulgaria

Directed by: Petrinel Gocev

A story narrating about everybody and everyone that has ever been sixteen – the secret of Romeo and Juliet.
A story about Romeo – the boy crazy in love, with wild heart and quick stab of his blade.
A story of that girl – that Juliet with invincible determination to stand against all the odds obstructing the flow of her love stream. Romeo to drown into her love and Juliet to drown into his. What are all common plays like, the plays for being, for existence, for envy, what are those for peace like? What are all prohibitions and freedom in different countries and kingdoms like? What are all hopes and all fears like?
What is the death like, facing the love of a boy and a girl?
Smoke, shadows, sighing… when I drown into the love of my Juliet, at an age so strange – sixteen, not a second more or less. And if I see my Juliet somewhere at a ball, in a street or in the deep darkness of a hallway swinging her ponytail side-to-side and secretly playing with dolls…and…if I find that Juliet of mine, there’s no one who can stop me and would try to discourage me to plunge into that love and neglect the rest of the isolated world.

Petrinel Gocev – director

Scenography and costume design by: Juliana Vojkova – Najman (Askeer” – 2014)
Original score / Sound designer: Dimitar Pencev

Actors: Gergana Zmijacarova, Silvija Cobanova, Elizabet Popova, Nadezhda Petkova, Dimo Dimov, Petko Petkov, Cvetelin Brankov, Svetoslav Slavcev, Miroslav Simeonov