Last night’s performance of War in the Time of Love by Blerta Neziraj was the perfect tone to end the festival with: witty, sharp, tearing through all artifice to get to what is real. We’re presented with an ordinary beauty salon, one that could be anywhere in Kosovo, one that could be anywhere in the world, really. The beauty salon represents both a prison of beauty expectations and also stands as a metaphor for desires that are human and endless: the desire to be loved, the desire to be wanted, the desire to be seen as beautiful and special.
The employees of Neziraj’s beauty salon deal with promises of love broken, beauty that’s never beautiful enough to make lovers stay, longing that’s never resolved and real trauma covered in hairspray. But most importantly: they never lose their sense of humour. I can’t tell you more without revealing the entire plot of the play, but I will tell you that instead of solemn bowing followed by polite clapping, the end of the play featured each actor performing a dance solo to SNAP!’s I Got the Power.
It’s this kind of unconventionality that defines Femart. There’s a spirit of inclusivity in a festival that includes abstract physical theater, conventional dramas, documentaries, writing workshops, poetry and panel discussions. The openness of the Femart platform for all forms expression created by women and for women is something Kosovo, with its world of traditional expectations and stiff gender roles, sorely needs.
I’m happy to have had a chance to be exposed to such a wide range of women’s stories and experiences at Femart. Here’s to more stories, more experiences, more questions, more exploring, and more community of this sort.
See you next year,