Teapot Troubles // Audible

From last year being shortlisted to now having had the amazing opportunity to have my play transformed to a radio play. Writing for audio is something I had never suspected would come my way but I am so grateful that it did. Teapot Troubles has been a project so close to my heart and I’m honoured to have been able to share the stories of my loved ones just as they shared their stories to me. I believe that through every struggle and suffering there is hope because that is what I have seen through my family, and through Teapot Troubles Ive been able to share their experience and wish to inspire hope in others.

The Tea

The process was an exciting and challenging one. Teapot troubles was my first completed play and so the idea of reforming it into something new, a different format or anything outside of the stage wasn’t something I was equipped with the skills, yet. With the tremedous help and guidance from director of Teapot Troubles Jessica Dromgoole I was able to continously edit and recieve feedback on this first time experience, until we had the result we had been working towards.

The tea making ritual which held the peice together was particularly challenging to modify as I had originally written the segment as solely visual. Adapting this meant strippig it back and finding the purpose of the scene. Through a masterclass with radio play and audible creators I was given the questions to ask myself and the means to tackle the obstacles I was faced with.

I began thinking about the importance of tea drinking and the ritual that goes along with it in both Kosovan and English cultures. I found that they both centre around conversation, rest and the feeling of comfort. I needed the double tea kettle to be an ode to the culture and traditions but also provide the comfort of reconvening back to that culture, nature and the humanity of the peoples who’s stories are being shared.

After a lot of trial and error we decided that the “mother” who is making tea should sing and that this song should become a chorus of all the characters because despite their experiences and stories they are United by their one home and country, traditions and culture. When choosing a song I collected traditions from my own family as admittedly we love to sing. A special memory of us all singing Tumankuqe, a very old traditional song, around the table after we had all filled our bellies with homemade delicacies. This song is a staple in my family and so I thought best to use it here.

Early on in the process I made clear to the team I was working with that it was very important to me that there is a full Kosovan Albanian cast. As much as it is a privilege to create drama in honour of my heritage I wish to respect and begin my journey in this industry supporting my community and highlighting the talent that we have. As an acting student myself I also enquired whether I could audition and be considered as one of my characters, and after I auditioned I was given the role of Sara. This was an incredible experience for me as the women who’s story I would be sharing were of my aunts and therefore I felt closer to the character and to Sara and all the women in the play.

When at the studios I was reunited with Arita Sadiku who performed at the table reading of teapot troubles last year. It was incredible meeting the cast and being able to work with them and straight away we had all connected (as Albanians tend to do). This project is so close to my heart and is something I’m so passionate about sharing and so being surrounded by likeminded creatives who share my passion was so thrilling to experience.

I’d like to end this post with my thanks and deepest gratitude to all the people who made this happen and everyone that’s been a part of teapot troubles. To all my loved ones whom entrusted their story with me I’m forever honoured. To the cast Edita Sllamniku playing Maria, Mirdrit Zhinipotoku playing Laurent, Arita Sadiku playing the mother, Rina Diamond playing Adriana, Faith Delaney playing child, Mark Straker playing grandfather. The piece has come alive thanks to the incredible venerability through their acting. A special thanks to Tomor Kuci, the kosovan Composer who created the atmosphere for teapot troubles perfectly. Thanks to Shane O’Byrne and Cara Dromgoole from audible studios for making my first experience recording a delightfully memorable one. Thank you to The National Theatre for giving me this amazing opportunity and to their collaboration with Audible. And most of all to Jessica Dromgoole who’s vision and guidance, direction and enthusiasm made Teapot Troubles what it has become.

Thank you, and enjoy listening to Teapot Troubles.

By Loresa Leka

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