The comedy “The Hypocrites or The English Patient” deals with the health care system, which, being caught in the trap of capitalism and neoliberal policies, has become a gangrene for contemporary Balkan societies, and beyond. The health care system functions not to serve citizens, rather, it serves the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies and private hospitals who see the health of their patients as a product from which they should benefit and accumulate capital. There has been marketization and commercialization of health care; meanwhile public health care institutions are in a miserable condition, with corrupt and misanthropic doctors.

In spite of that, the health care system does not operate individually: it is part of a longer chain of abusers that come not only from the pharmaceutical business, insurance companies and companies that manufacture medical equipment, but also from politics and the dark underground of organized crime.

The rich are treated in expensive, private clinics in Kosovo or other countries in Europe. The poor die, waiting in line in public hospitals, or die trying to gather money to get treated in private hospitals. This situation has deepened the inequality between social classes, and governments in the region, led by corrupt political elites, are contributing to this inequality.

In Kosovo, about 50 doctors and former government officials are accused of deception, abuse of official position and bribery in the “Stents Case.” Other doctors have been sentenced for illegal organ trafficking in the “Medicus” case. Another group is accused of prescribing drugs from pharmaceutical companies that they had cooperation with.

In “The Hypocrites or the English Patient,” the 6 characters humorously tell us about the massage parlors in the Balkans where they offer happy endings (a euphemism for masturbation), about the illegal transplant of kidneys and about the deceiving stent operations – all of them under the shadow of the intensive construction of ‘the Balkan peace highway’. In “The Hypocrites…” the public will see the ‘pornographic’ side of a society that is practicing a collective happy ending…

Sound evolution
Gabriele Marangoni has created a sound version of the project, where the text which becomes an integral part and foundation of the sound composition “Ipo-crisis” for solo accordion, vocal ensemble and live electronics. First performed at the National Theater of Prishtina, the work sees the author himself on stage with an digital accordion in relation to the voices of the protagonists of the theatrical version. A different way of elaborating the same concept, a further artistic exchange of a collaboration that always places research as a basis for the development of projects that break the barriers between the different types of performances.

* * *


“His [Neziraj’s] 2018 play The Hypocrites, or The English Patient, savaged the dire state of the healthcare system and was inspired by a bribery scandal”. The Guardian 

“As with many of Neziraj’s plays, the production was aggressively topical, referencing a recent scandal in which doctors sold unnecessary medical treatments to patients. With its black and red rubber costumes and it’s camp quality, it occasionally brought to mind Rocky Horror in its tone and aesthetic, something which came to seem fitting given the situation which was describing encompassed both horror and comedy.” Natasha Tripney, The Stage.

“The play aims at a revolutionary criticism to the health system in Kosovo or even Balkans, embedding thus such a universal character since it deconstructs this problem also as a criticism of neoliberalism. For us, Neziraj’s dramas are a rich artistic and philosophic cynicism, a politically engaged play, criticism toward a society and power. The same goes for the directorial concept of his partner, which is an innovation regarding Kosovo theaters.”    Avni Rudaku, Kosova Sot

“During Qendra’s production The Hypocrites or The English Patient a live guitarist noodles and niggles away – but also helps create the horribly cartoonish, exaggerated sounds of the operating theatre. Neziraj’s play, which is staged at staged at independent venue Teatri Oda – a smaller venue, tucked inside an spiked and steepled example of bananas Yugoslavian Brutalism – takes a sharp scalpel to the subject of private healthcare scams and scandals in Kosovo. They’ve been many, doctors proving more hypocritic than Hippocratic.” Holly Williams, Exeunt Magazine