Joe Tripician premieres "Balkanized at Sunrise" off-Broadway
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NYC Author to Recount Former Croatian President's Efforts to Avert Hague Tribunal in Theatrical Presentation
Comic and Dramatic Tale, "Balkanized at Sunrise", debuts May 2 at Dixon Place
New York, NY.
April 2, 2002: What forces led the government of Croatia to hire a New York science-fiction writer to pen the biography of its President? EMMY-award winning producer and author, Joe Tripician, relates his 1997 adventures in the Balkans where he was assigned the task of writing then President Franjo Tudjman's biography for U.S. consumption.
Although not a historian, Joe had written one previously published (humor) book: "The Official Alien Abductee's Handbook", which made him unconventionally qualified to write a biography of an authoritarian Balkan leader.
After months of research and travel, Joe completed a 400-page manuscript titled "In Tito's Shadow" which remains unpublished after the Croatian government took offense at the author's depiction of the now deceased President and his actions.
In bringing this story to the stage, Joe recounts navigating between toadying government aides, lying politicians, harassed dissident journalists, and Croatian and Bosnian women looking for a quick visa. The effect is an often darkly comic, and sadly tragic, tale of deception, danger, death and desire, where guilt abounds, but responsibility remains elusive.
While a guest of the Croatian government, Joe surreptitiously met with opposition leaders and human rights activists in an attempt to uncover the truth of Tudjman's reign. The party then ruling Croatia, Tudjman's HDZ party, was involved in a massive public relations effort to refurbish the tarnished President's image after the war of the '90s produced the largest number of atrocities and death since WWII.
The International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague looms large in the one-man May 2nd show at Dixon Place, New York's celebrated performance space that has showcased such talents as John Leguizamo, Wallace Shawn, and Meredith Monk. "In my experience," says Joe, "many of the Serbs, Croats and Muslims I met in the Balkans expressed outrage over the crimes committed against their own ethnic group, but few would ever name any of their own as guilty. Tudjman personally told me that his own soldiers could not be blamed for any alleged crimes they committed; that after suffering at the hands of the Serbs, they could not help themselves."
During a trip to Sarajevo, Joe met with an anonymous source: a high-ranking member of the Bosnian Croat Federation who detailed the Zagreb government's designs on partitioning Bosnia. "This man warned that extremist Muslim forces were already at large in Bosnia," relates Joe, "and that if better cooperation with the moderate forces in Sarajevo did not happen quickly, the West would soon be paying the price."
"Balkanized at Sunrise" dramatizes many of Joe's experiences and interviews, often with dark and absurd humor. Several scenes depict Joe's encounters with Balkan women, and his narrow escape from amorous indiscretions. "Someone described my show as 'Graham Greene meets Woody Allen'", says the playwright, "and although it is an innocent abroad story with sexual escapades, I believe that the moral and political overtones speak to today's climate."
"Balkanized at Sunrise" is written and performed by Joe Tripician, and incorporates multi-media presentations of slides and videos from Joe's 1997 journey.
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About Joe Tripician
Joe Tripician is an EMMY-award winning Producer/Writer/Director whose work has been broadcast on Network and Cable television across America, Europe and Japan. In 1992, Joe received an EMMY for his documentary "Metaphoria", broadcast on PBS. Joe's humor book, "The Official Alien Abductee's Handbook", was published by Andrews and McMeel in 1997. Joe is also the author of several feature film screenplays, including a script optioned by veteran producer Ben Barenholtz. In 1994, Joe was nominated for the Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film/Video Fellowship in Media Arts. In 1998 Joe co-founded iStreamTV, a streaming media technology company based in New York. Joe has an MFA from Columbia University.
About Dixon Place
Dixon Place is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 to provide a space for literary and performing artists to create and develop new works in front of a live audience. While other venues of its kind have since died off, or now only present established artists, Dixon Place remains at the heart of the New York experimental performance scene. With an audience capacity of 75, Dixon Place is open five to six nights a week and presents a total of over 500 artists to over 10,000 people annually. In 1989, Ellie Covan, founding director, was a recipient of a Bessie, a New York Dance and Performance Award, for her service to the community; and Dixon Place received a Village Voice Obie Grant Award in 1990 and 1999. Additionally, in 1999, Dixon Place was awarded an Edwin Booth Award for Excellence in Theater.