(Kit Gillet’s article appeared in the Guardian, 4/5.)

There are few more poignant places to stage a play about “star-crossed lovers” than in former Yugoslavia, where a rehearsal for a gritty production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is under way in Belgrade’s trendy but rundown port area of Savamala.

With a cast chosen to reflect the deep divisions that remain in this part of the Balkans, Romeo and the Montagues will be played by Kosovan Albanians while Juliet and the Capulets will be played by Serbians. The production is seen as a chance to push forward dialogue and reconciliation in the region.

“I think this is going to mark the end of the Serbia-Kosovo conflict, symbolically,” said Jeton Neziraj, a Kosovan playwright and one of the play’s co-producers. The play opens on Sunday at the Serbian National Theatre in Belgrade, before moving to the National Theatre of Kosovo in Pristina next month.


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