Musical / Multiple Characters, 2 Female, 2 Male, other characters can be played by males or females / One Act
Synopsis (From The Philadelphia Inquirer): “Tasca’s play is narrated by Lt. Jovan Vlaco, a Serbian officer in the women’s camp run by Col. Branislav Herak, who’s recovering from a shrapnel wound before being returned to the front. The camp, Vlaco reports, is located in ‘what they call Southern Bosnia and we call Greater Serbia — all wars begin with the changing of words and phrases.’ As the action begins, we meet the camp’s newest inmates — Amina and Samira Jusic, a Bosnian mother and daughter suspected of igniting a fuel-depot explosion that killed 16 Serbs.
“The explosion, we soon learn, was in fact perpetrated by Samira, working for a Bosnian guerrilla force. A bitter, hate-filled young woman, she’s egged on by the play’s fifth main character, a camp firebrand named Jela, and refuses to confess even when tortured. Fearful for her daughter’s life, Amina intercedes with Herak, with whom she was friendly back when Bosnians and Serbians lived together in peace, and arranges for Samira to work days as the commandant’s housekeeper.
“Although Samira assumes her new role reluctantly, she slowly begins to recognize this complex soldier-philosopher as a human being as well as a Serb. But old hatreds die hard, and wars assume an unstoppable momentum all their own.”
“Theatrically bold and politically moving.”
“The title obviously evokes Euripides’ The Trojan Women. . . . It takes guts to challenge the all-time champions of hugely-scaled drama on their home court, but Tasca not only does so but pulls the feat off. . . . The remarkable thing about The Balkan Women is that although it’s written and staged in a deliberate, even formal style, its four principals emerge as people of substantial depth, their innate decency evident beneath the rote viciousness of their antagonisms. We’re kept in suspense by their dilemmas and ultimately touched by their fates.”
– The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Thought provoking and extremely powerful. . . . the characters are crafted with wonderful complexity.”
– Bristol Pilot
Contact information: Amateur and professional rights:
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
About the Playwright: Jules Tasca has taught playwriting at Oxford University in England and he has performed with a Commedia dell’arte group in Central Italy. He is the author of 105 (13 full length, 92 one act) published plays that have been produced in numerous national theaters from the Mark Taper Forum to the Bucks County Playhouse, as well as abroad.He has also written for radio and television. He scripted “The Hal Linden T.V. Special.” His La Llorona and Maria were produced on National Public Radio. Other one-act pieces were broadcast in Los Angeles and abroad in Germany.
He was the national winner in New York’s Performing Arts Repertory Theater playwriting contest for his libretto, The Amazing Einstein, which toured the country and played at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His libretto for C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe had its world premiere in California and played in London and New York and is currently touring nationwide.
For his play, Theater Trip, he was the recipient of a Thespie Award for Best New Play, and Old Goat Song won a drama critic’s award in Los Angeles. His play, The Spelling of Coynes, has been included in The Best American Short Plays Anthology. His tragic piece, The Balkan Women, won the prestigious Barrymore Award for Best Play. His play The Grand Christmas History of the Andy Landy Clanwas broadcast on 47 National Public Radio stations.
Most recently, his tragedy, Judah’s Daughter, received the Dorothy Silver International playwrighting award. The author is a member of New York’s Dramatist Guild.
The Balkan Women was first produced at The Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, Pennsylvania in 1998.