Lick But Don’t Swallow! (Little Fantasy)

Lick But Don’t Swallow! (Little Fantasy) is a play written by Özen Yula that is one of the texts of his Objection Plays series. It is a story about a dream of an angel/porn star who tries to save humanity. By divine rule, angels are sent to the Earth once in every hundred years in a human body and they must convince at least one person to follow the moral goodness in their 24 hours. This is the only condition to stay as an angel for one more hundred years; and if she/he fails she/he will get stuck in the world as a mortal human being.

The play takes place on the set of a porn movie in Turkey where an angel finds herself in the body of a porn star named Leyla. She tries to raise awareness of set workers for the world matters while the filming of the porn movie scenes continues. According to the biriken, the duo staging the play, Lick But Don’t Swallow! (Little Fantasy) is on one side brings out present-day harsh realities through the porn star Leyla, “on the other hand, it chooses a platform where it cancels out everything it tells about, denies the reality surrounding us, and where the only reality is hedonism.”

Who Is It There? – Muhsin Bey’s Last Hamlet

Who Is It There? – Muhsin Bey’s Last Hamlet has a fictional story based on historical facts. The play’s text is written by the four members of the company some of who are also performers in it. In late 19th century during the last years of Ottoman Empire emerging modern Turkish speaking theater was performed mostly by non-Muslim population especially by Armenians. First Muslim woman performing on stage didn’t happen until 1919. When Modern Turkey was established in 1923 Muhsin Ertugrul became one of the leading figures to institutionalize western theater in Turkey. While Ertugrul mostly trained with old Armenian masters when he started his profession, they were mostly gone when he was running State Theater of Turkey.
In the play we see Ertuğrul in his late age getting prepared to direct Hamlet for a last time. Hamlet was also Ertugrul’s directorial debut in 1912. At that time he worked with Vahra Papazyan who Ertugrul calls his first theater teacher. Throughout the play ghosts of Papazyan and an imaginary actress Latife/Arusyak as the representative of the Muslim actress of the time, accompany Ertuğrul in his prep for the play by bringing memories from his unspoken personal history when he was building a national theater in Turkey with references to both Hamlet and Ertugrul’s career. By doing this, the audience starts to question the history of Turkish-Armenian theater people who we do not know well and whose tradition kept going in Turkish theater until today.

You Are More Beautiful Than Istanbul

The play tells the stories of three generation women from the same family: Grandmother, mother and granddaughter. Even though they all grew up at different times in the same city, their struggles and finding a purpose in life as women do not change fundamentally for each of them. When the play first performed it was directed by the playwright himself. As it is described in the text three women sit on chairs side by side at downstage center without getting up most of the performance. They speak their own monologues to tell the parts of the story from their characters perspective which are written as if we listen to their stream of consciousness in relation to each other and the world they interact with. In staging style and directions with few props and limited physical movement, by most critics the play is often compared with Meddah tradition in Turkish theater which is a storytelling technique that is based on enacting several contexts of a story through different characters. What the play successfully achieves is giving insights to these women’s lives and connecting them to subjects such as change in the city, motherhood, problems of youth etc. When grandmother recalls her memories from her youth, we know the facade of the city with its history disappearing with big urban renewal projects, however struggles of being a woman still continues from how society represses them.


The play depicts the story of three female students at the University of Tehran living in the university dormitory that is disciplined and monitored under the strict surveillance of dormitory officials. Two of the girls hear some male voices and start searching for the source of these voices while being interrogated by the dormitory authorities. The girls’ quest is in line with an engaging and intimate journey of remembering and confessing. Through recollecting figments of memories and their alternation with verbal, visual and aural expressions in the present, the line between reality and fiction blurs. The girls with their over-head cameras enter a Kafkaesque journey to discover the truth. At the core of this journey lies the enigmatic mediatized dramaturgy of interweaving verbalism and imagism. During eighty performances, it attracted 10-12 thousand spectators. Hearing is the first Iranian play invited to Festival d’Avignon (2016).