Guide to SKOPJE

The Wizard of Oz

Rare are the moments of complete relaxation, joy and pleasant experience evoked by one superior esthetic performance on the wooden boards, which as it has been said many times before, possess a lifetime significance for the actors. Since those moments in the modern Macedonian theater sphere are occasional, for the creators of the magical life on the stage and the audience, they have become precious memories and a privilege.

We recently had an opportunity to share such memorable timeframes  on the premiere of the “The Wizard of Oz” in the “Theater for children and youth”  inSkopje. The world famous  work of the American author Lyman Frank Baum, which was written and filmed several times since the early 20th century up to the present day, was a  dramatization of Maja Enceva from Bulgaria and according to the Macedonian adaptation made by our poet Nikola Madzirov .

As a musical and  stage spectacle, the whole  performance was set by the  longtime collaborator and friend of the “Theater for children and youth”, the director Bonjo Lungov fromBulgaria.

In the evening,  the traffic on the  streets of Skopje was typical for this part of the year.The New Year’s and Christmas decorations are still everywhere … And the scene of the “Theater for children and youth”, opens its  magical world of music, songs and plays, which awakens the ghost of the Christmas celebrations, beautiful feelings and desires.

The director Lungov made one  modern, visually lavish musical, according to all the standards of this theatrical  genre. In his take, the story of the dreamy adventures of the girl called Dorothy, is structured  as a blend of the dramatic and the puppet show  theater. Through the  dynamic  action,  where the text is mostly sung than spoken, the audience is lead by the cast members- Nina Dean, Dragan Dovlev, Tanja-Kocovska-Pavlovska, Ana Levajkovik-Boskov , Martin Jordanoski, Petar Stojkovic, Eftim Trajcov and Marija  Gjorgjijovska. They are all one  successful blend of youthfulness  and experience, and some of them even interpret  two roles.

They revive the story about  Dorothy who travels with her dog Toto to the fantastic country called Oz,  together  with the new friends that she meets along the way-  The Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman  and The Cowardly Lion. The trip of this tragic-comic foursome to the Emerald City  is filled with many  temptations , but  each of them expects to get the needed help from the great wizard who can give them the things they lack. So, at the end it’s a symbolic journey to the real values ​​that should be learned by the children and repeated by the adults, since because of the everyday rush it  seems like we all have forgotten about  them.

It is the love, belonging, truth, perseverance, courage and wisdom. This message is a sublimate of the  greatest value of the story. It exceeds any convenient context and travels directly to our sleepy consciousness , to confront us with the necessity of understanding and rebirth, without which it will be  hard for us to  become better people in future.

As for the first-class fantasy world of the Land of Oz masterfully recaptured  by the director, he  admitted that he  would not have managed it  without his associates from Bulgaria Konstantin Karakostov, Diljana Prvanova, Mihail Siskov, Velicko and Petko Karakostov Lungov. They created such a melodious and playful scene with a handful of expressive means such as dolls, videos, paintings, multimedia and choreography.

All together, there was  an impression of a musical for the colorful and cheerful  world of the fantasy and dreams.

Most disarming is the knowledge that it is not only childish, but a dream in which the adult audience  is easily driven and  left to continue dreaming with open eyes till the end, along with the character of Dorothy.

Sotir Trajkov