SERBIAN PLAYWRIGHT Biljana Srbljanovic has a reputation for dramatizing political and controversial subjects. Her latest piece, “This Grave Is Too Small for Me,” which premiered at Vienna’s Schauspielhaus last October and has been part of the company’s repertoire all season (the next production is June 16), is no exception. Focused on Gavrilo Princip and his friends in the weeks leading up to his assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, the play has inspired rave reactions from audiences in Graz, Belgrade and Sarajevo as well as at Berlin’s Schauuehne Theater (where it will be staged again June 2-3). It will be produced in Lyon and Prague in the fall. Based in Belgrade and Paris, Ms. Srbljanovic, 43, recently spoke to us about the play, the constraints of commissioned work and being a theatrical version of Pussy Riot. Read more


BELGRADE, SERBIA — Salma Hayek took her time looking though the racks at Supermarket, Belgrade’s first concept fashion store. The Mexican-born actress was in the Serbian capital in 2013 filming a thriller and on a free day she decided to peruse what the store, which focuses much of its collection on Serbian designers, had to offer. “She came in and asked if this was a spot for Serbian designers,” said Slavko Marković, the founder of Supermarket. “We told her it was and she started shopping. She was very studious, going from one piece to another, really examining the [collection.]” In the end, Ms Hayek purchased 10 items, including a pair of trousers by designer Marina Mićanović, two skirts by Super Rumenka by Dejana Stanojević and a dress by Jelena Stefanović. Read more


LONDON — While Poland currently has one of the lower crime rates in the European Union, the country appears to be in the midst of a crime obsession — at least of the fictional variety.

According to the crime writer Irek Grin — who is the director of Wroclaw’s International Festival of Crime Fiction (Miedzynarodowy Festiwal Kryminalu) — in 2003, only four Polish thrillers were released, while last year 112 crime novels were published. Read more


LONDON –Sitting cross-legged on the floor in his consultation room, optometrist Viren Jani rifles through a large antique gentleman’s case. “Here they are – look at that design,” he enthuses, pulling out an oversized pair of 1986 Christian Lacroix thick, black frames (£3,500). They are flat across the top and rounded from the hinges, with gold detailing on the front sides. “When I see something like this, it thrills me.” Read more


SUVA, Fiji — For most people Fiji means fun in the sun and aesthetically pleasing water bottles.

The reality for nearly 1 million Fijians, however, has been far less idyllic.

Racial tensions simmer. Corruption and endemic instability have led to four coups since independence from Britain in 1970. The current prime minister, Commodore Josaia Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama, declared martial law in 2009, after taking power in a 2006 putsch.

Recently, however, things have begun to change for the better. Read more