Entries by Martin Zebari

Migrants: An Adaptation

The play focuses on two unlucky strangers and roommates in a new county, a professor in his political exile and the illiterate peasant who has left his family and village for financial stability and freedom. The two of them are friendless, and one of them can’t speak the language of the new place. It’s a night full of memories and wishes, full of fragile dreams and hard reality. It’s New Year Eve, and they have nothing to share except words.

Macbeth: An Adaptation

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are in a nightmarish state which depicts the eternal punishment for their crimes. The story begins with a witch talks about heinous bloodshed while Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are dead in body bags , the witch opens the body bags and lady Macbeth rises frantically washes her hand in the air while the witch chops off Macbeth heads and dances with the headless body bringing both back to their memories of their crimes. Three witches are three men in military uniform singing and prophesying that Macbeth will be thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. Macbeth writes the news to Lady Macbeth and telling her that King of Scotland Duncan is coming to visit them, Lady Macbeth tempts Macbeth to kill the king while she kills the guards. The headless body reappears in waltzing with the witch while Lady Macbeth dances with Macbeth and puts on the crown but he feels the guilt of his crime and sees three witches laughing. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are in bed lamenting about their crimes and both go to their doom fate looking at their lost child in a cubed glass while witches sing.


Theatre Painted Bird, founded in 2000, is the first professional feminist theatre company in Turkey. “Nora/Nûrê”, an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, was the first and only Kurdish project of the group. By working with feminist dramaturgy the group found some resemblances between Ibsen’s Nora and the kilam “Saliho and Nûrê” are narrated by dengbêjs. By messing with men’s affairs Nora dishonored Torvald and Nûre dishonored Salih. In the final scene when Nora leaves her Doll House, in the kilam Nûre was killed by her husband. During the play Nûre used different masks. There wasn’t a realistic scenery. The play wasn’t Kurdicized but it unveiled in Kurdish language the same oppression experienced by the women all over the world.

That Time: An Adaptation

The text is a combination of 3 pre-recorded monologues said by A, B, and C. Beckett wrote that “The B story has to do with the young man, the C story is the story of the old man and the A story is that of the man in middle age”. In the performance, 3 actors representing A, B and C were mooving together and whispering the text . The performance was done in an old factory of olive oil from the 18th Century in an isolated venue near a graveyard and a railstation.

The House of Bernarda Alba: An Adaptation

After the funeral of his husband Bernarda tells her five daughters that they must go through an eight year mourning period for her dead husband, father to all of them except the eldest daughter Angustias who is from her first marriage. Bernarda orders La Poncia the housekeeper to close the windows and prevents any connection with the outside world.
She becomes an authoritarian force that controls her five daughters Angustias, Magdalena, Amelia, Martirio and Adela that each wants freedom and love, but only the youngest daughter Adela is brave to show her desire while Bernarda elderly mother María Josefa is also with her dream of lost love. Angustias is expected to be wed to Pepe that creates tensions between other sisters and eventually Adela announces that she has an affair with Pepe and Bernarda runs offstage with a shotgun to shoot the man. Martirio tells a lie that Pepe is dead, Adela hangs herself. After they find the body, Bernarda demands Adela be buried as a virgin.

“Mem” from Alan Tribe

Although the name of the play reminds of the epic titled “Memê Alan”, it is based on a dengbêj (performers recounting narratives) kilam (dengbêjs’ narratives) titled “Memê û Eyşê” (Memê and Eyşê). The play’s literary source isn’t just Kurdish. The story has narrated both Turkish and Kurdish with some differences. In the play Mem, who wants to participate as a Kurd in the war for Jerusalem by Saladin, muslim military leader, with an order from the Hakkari seigniory, encouraged by his mother. Mem’s friend Lewend, who will fight for the sake of Islam and his country, will also leave his children and join the war. Mem has Xezal (his wife), who is the bride of a week yet. Mem prefers to fight for his country and religion and Çavreş (his mother) and Xezal stay together at home. He returns home a year later. However Mem returns and comes to the door like a guest Xezal responds calmly his questions, stating that the Kurds respect their guests. Xezal asks for some signs to make sure of him, and Mem convinces his wife that he is his husband. Mem and Xezal hug and lie down the bed. Meanwhile, Çavreş comes. She suspects that why nobody is opening the door. When she enters, she sees his bride in bed with a man. She spears into his son’s chest. At the end of the play she understands her fault and laments for Mem.


Wine & Halva is a play about the unconventional friendship between Farias, a white (or white-passing) gay man from a fictional Anglophone Canadian city called ”New Stockholm,” and Derya, a Turkish woman who immigrated to that fictional city and needs to deal with many invisible cases of institutional discrimination alone. Wine&Halva is an open and playful text, with three narrators getting in and out of these two characters throughout the play to underline the fluid nature of identity in different contexts. The story focuses on how these two people from very different histories and struggles learn (and perhaps invent) ways to support and love each other. Wine&Halva challenges multiple, widely-accepted Canadian assumptions about immigration and represents the nature of institutional discrimination along with its possible impact on the human psyche, especially under conditions of extreme precarity.


Cinema is a political satire which criticises the fragility of the Iraqi political status quo and delves into the perspective of the dead. The play is set in a graveyard where four corpses rise from their graves, and start a conversation about how and why they ended up there. The figures are: an officer from the Iraq–Iran War; a female journalist who died in one of the bombing explosions in Baghdad after 2003; a young man who failed to find a job as a postgraduate student and decided to work as a taxi driver, but was killed during the ethnic violence; and a poet. All are joined later on by the graveyard keeper who shares with them his daily problems and strife in a lawless city. The play is a black comedy that criticises politicians, wars and systematic corruption, but most importantly it mocks death. The four corpses get up from their graves to protest against the increasing numbers of dead people buried in the graveyard.

Alive from Palestine: Stories Under Occupation

An ongoing series of sketches by the Al-Kasaba players centering on the theme of media representation. Alive From Palestine: Stories Under Occupation is a theatrical expression of how Palestinians and their stories have become just another news item for the rest of the world, whilst for Palestinians, it is their life, humanity and existence. The show depicts Palestinians living, dying, crying, laughing and struggling for a normal existence against a backdrop of disaster and uncertainty.

The Final Month of the Fifth Year

The Final Month of the Fifth Year tells the story of Jaber, a Palestinian-Syrian playwright who escaped Syria and lives as a refugee in Gaziantep, Turkey. Jaber is a journalist, and works with a radio station that supports the Syrian revolution. Jaber meets Fadl, a 20-year-old young man who escaped from Aleppo, and begins writing a play based on Fadl’s life, following his difficult journey from Aleppo to Idlib and eventually Turkey. Two additional characters are introduced: Tuba, a half-Turkish, half-Syrian girl who was born and raised in Turkey and who works as translator in the same radio that Jaber works for; and Younes, a Kurdish-Turkish young man, who once had a short-lived relationship with Fadl. Jaber finds himself losing faith in himself and his ability to tell stories, as the complexities of Fadl’s history multiply and embroil everyone around him. Ultimately, Jaber’s attempts wear away at his relationship with Wash, his girlfriend, a character we only meet over video calls. Jaber begins, too, to question his sexuality, and most characters question their understanding of the concept of identity.