In-depth | Roma

In the Roma theater

By - 08.04.2024

International Roma Day with Roma theater actors.

The Roma theater, which bears the name of the late Roma playwright, Nexhip Menekshe, was founded in 1989. For two years now, its performances have been held at the Lumbardhi cinema in Prizren, since the Xhemajli Berisha House of Culture, where the theater usually operates, is still under renovation.

The play “Funny Money,” written by Ray Cooney and directed by Deniz Dadale, premiered on April 7. The comedy is a story of the adventures of Henry Perkins, a character who experiences unexpected events after he finds a bag full of money in a strange situation on the subway.

The play was performed again on April 8, International Roma Day.

Sejnur Veshall, artistic director of the theater, nostalgically remembered the beginnings of his activism in the Roma theater in the first grade. That was when “my activism for our community’s issues also began,” he said.

K2.0 visited the rehearsals for “Funny Money” and spent time with the theater and show team. Everyone involved did more than just the job of an actor or actress. None of them was an actor by profession. They were actors, but also producers. Actors, but also scenographers, translators and photographers. Above all, they were activists.

The theater’s working spaces are integrated into the studio of the only Roma radio station, Radio Romano-Avazo. The same space is also home to the Roma Library. Despite being small, this library preserves important summaries about Roma history and culture. It also contains the Roma Theater Monograph, published in 2019, on the 30th anniversary of the theater’s founding.

“In addition to the desire, it became an obligation,” said Veshall, about the work that the Nexhip Menekshe Roma Theater does to preserve Roma language and culture.

Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Melisa Menekshe, civil society activist, graduated in nursing. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Shenoll Qylanxhi, photographer, studies production and is one of the most prominent comedic actors. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Gynesh Veshall, activist and graduate in English language and literature, has been engaged with the theater since the first grade. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Melisa and Gynesh are the only women in the Roma theater. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Gjynejt Kallo, student at the Faculty of Education, Turkish language department. Kallo is the sound editor at Romano Avazo radio and the play’s scenographer. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Fatmir Menekshe, who plays the character of Slejtër in "Funny Money" and also the Director of the NGO Durmish Aslano. He graduated in Albanian language and literature and is a translator of plays in the Romani language. It has been part of the theater for 20 years. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Sejnur Veshall, artistic director of the Nexhip Menekshe theater. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Benjamin Menekshe graduated in mass communication and now studies dramaturgy. In addition to acting, he is in charge of the multimedia part of the organization. The photo shows him surrounded by the posters of the plays they staged, the vast majority of which were written by his father, playwright Nexhip Menekshe, after whom the Roma theater is named. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0
Photo: Majlinda Hoxha/K2.0

Photos: Majlinda Hoxha / K2.0.

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