- Nora/NûrêMarch 3, 2021 - 6:00 am
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.
- “Mem” from Alan TribeMarch 2, 2021 - 8:08 pm
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&HalvaMarch 2, 2021 - 6:23 pm
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.
- The RatMarch 1, 2021 - 5:46 am
This play is about the clash of the rat and 4 cats. Cats harm and domineer the rat and people. The rat as a leader resists attacks with people and eventually win. They resist cats by coming together in weddings, harvests etc… and reach a consensus how they fight to cats. Masks were used for cats and the rat ; but these animals were not played by imitating. They are like human. The rat represents of a Kurdish society who are under the control of the authority, are oppressed. Four cats (Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq) are authority. The literary source of the play is about the rat and the cat but in this play it is changed by four cats.
- ShahmaranMarch 1, 2021 - 5:45 am
“Sayê Moru” is the first play that performed entirely in Zaza language. The play was staged as narrated. It wasn’t rewritten. A non-Aristotelian staging was preferred via metaphoric and symbolic items that based on the Dersim (an area of eastern Turkey) version of the well-known “Shahmaran” fairy tale. The narrative is based on the theme of death-immortality. “Lokman Hekim” (Luqman the Wise) is looking for a solution to death. Before he died he legated 3 papers to his son Camisan. Camisan met Shahmaran in underground. At the end of the play, Camisan became “Luqman the Wise” like her father. Unlike other versions, Şahmaran is a bearded snake in “Sayê Moru”.
- The HunterMarch 1, 2021 - 5:44 am
The play is about two smugglers (Şûrzal and Zanyar) in a village of Mardin. They are caught in a storm on the way back and lose their mules. A conflict occurs with the gendarmerie. The smugglers who take refuge in a village spend the night in the house of the village headman, Reşid. The soldiers come the village to find them. They don’t want the soldiers to persecute the peasant because of them. As the conflict broke out, Şûrzal flees; Zanyar is killed. Zanyar confronts Şûrzal in a dream, and it turns out that Şûrzal killed his sister and the woman’s (loved by Şûrzal) brother for affair of honour. In this play the scenery is a backdrop. It is a picture of a smuggler pulling a mule carrying a load. Pictures of Ehmedê Xanî, Melayê Cizirî, are also given prominent place on the set. The musicians and the dengbêj sit on the right side of the stage. It is the first time that dengbêj narrates a kilam that summarizes the preceding scene. Playwright wrote new kilams for the play.
- Six-Fingers HandMarch 1, 2021 - 5:41 am
“Destê Şeş Tilî” came in first at the “4th Ebdurrehîm Rehmî Hekarî Play Writing Contest”. The playwright is a convicted prisoner. The play focuses on the war losses. There are 4 main characters in the play. A mother who did not accept the death of her son, who died six years ago in the war. A wounded man, who was supposed to have died during the conflict, was buried by his friends and after 3 days he came out under the ground. A sister who will be watering her brother’s grave and lamenting him for seven years. And a man is a betrayer who doesn’t go after his sins and fears he committed in the war. The main characters are in a timeless and space-free situation. Reality and dream are together in this play. The stage was covered with sand and It was interesting to see a man came out under sand at stage.
- Disco No.5March 1, 2021 - 5:40 am
Disco No.5 has been performed by Mirza Metin from Destar Theatre about the torture of Kurdish political prisoners in Diyarbakır Military Prison after military coup in Turkey (1980). The performance has been based on memories, books, documentaries and interviews about that period. In that one-act play the actor performed a spider, a rat, a dog, a prisoner and a jailkeeper by getting reality and fiction together. The characters/actions of the play have referred to reality of that period by fictioning. The group described their play as “confrontation plays”. Always welcomed with great admiration the play won “the best solo performance of the year”, “the actor of the year”, “the best performance of the year” awards.
- Under the CastleMarch 1, 2021 - 5:38 am
Mei and Po, two ugly, monster-like laundry women living in the basement of Macbeth’s castle, are the only ones who remember what Macbeth’s tragic story was. In an uncertain time after their Lord’s death and after all the awful things they witnessed, these two on stage with all their deformed, abject bodies start to tell and restructure this well-known story. They are both storytellers while they are enacting several characters from the story: narration and acting intertwine together and accompanied by a feminist dramaturgy and grotesque aesthetics. While the tragedy turns into a political burlesque consisting of the discourse of otherness, all the implications belonging to this idea range from gender, sex, ugliness to body, flesh, blood, and death takes place on stage. The set is composed of the laundry sheets that are used as proscenium arch and curtain, where they have been cleaning up all the bloody stains under the Macbeth’s castle, or in other words, all-pervading shambles in the history of ‘man’kind.
- IoMarch 1, 2021 - 5:37 am
Io is a contemporary text written in the form of a Greek tragedy by Şahika Tekand using the story and information from Greek mythology. The story is inspired by a mythological figure named Io who appears in a short scene in Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus. In Prometheus Bound, Io meets Prometheus during her exile and hears his prophecy about Zeus’ end. In Tekand’s tragedy, a long time after this meeting and all that happened, Io finally returns to her homeland, Argos. When she encounters the people of Argos, it turns out that her story was mistold, no one does neither listen nor believe her. They prefer to accept the story that they heard and keep things according to that, instead of finding out about the truth. Then, Hermes, Kratos, and Bia appear as the representatives of Zeus to force her to stay silent; but Io keeps telling the truth. While people cannot understand who is right and what is the truth, Prometheus appears and explains the human’s blind side: people always tend to forget in order to keep conformity. As they forgot about the fire he’d stolen from the Titans and gave them before, now they prefer not to the truth about Io. In the end, Io’s unstoppable rebellious voice is interrupted by the absolute darkness of oblivion.
- Lick But Don’t Swallow! (Little Fantasy)March 1, 2021 - 5:36 am
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.”
- FlagMarch 1, 2021 - 5:35 am
Flag, a crime drama written by Berkun Oya, is the tragic story of the decline of a family because of homicide. The family consists of elderly mother and father, their two sons and daughters-in-law; and the names of the characters are not mentioned. The play opens with the homecoming of one of their sons with some terrible news that ruins everything. He murdered his wife and wants to bury her in the garden of their family house. The mother wants to help him, yet the father is more strict with his son. They wait for the older brother who will bring the body, but a police officer visits the house before him. After this epilog, the first episode starts with a flashback of three days ago and focuses on the things that happened until the murder is committed. At the end of this first episode, it is figured out that the wife who is supposed to be dead is actually alive. The second episode opens with a dialog in between her and the older brother who is abandoned by his wife and then gives himself to drink. While they are talking about the younger brother, the talk turns into a bloodletting discussion that results in murdering her. This last episode answers the question of whether this time the woman is dead or not.
- Who Is It There? – Muhsin Bey’s Last HamletMarch 1, 2021 - 5:34 am
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.
- TraceMarch 1, 2021 - 5:32 am
The play dwells on the stories of people who live in the same mansion in Tarlabaşı (a historic and diverse community neighborhood in Istanbul that was declared a regeneration area by the government in 2006), in three different periods of Turkey’s late history. Stories of two Greek / Turkish sisters in the 1950s, a landlord from the Black Sea region and his communist tenant in the 1980s, then a transvestite and his lover in the 2000s intertwine together and develop parallelly. Trace staged in a mansion like an apartment building converted into a theater space by using its different rooms with a cinematographic dramaturgy. The seats and a couple of monitors were located in a single room which can be considered as the main stage; and several cameras were placed in the back rooms. The audience could see the action on the main stage and simultaneously followed what was happening on the back rooms from the monitors through online streaming.
These three testimonial stories belonged to the mansion reveal the covert histories belonged to the others. Trace, as one of the memory plays in peculiar to the recent playwriting trends in Turkey, probes into root-bound matters of the country’s late history by focusing on various sorts of minorities and so-called extremists ranging from LGBTI and communists to Greeks and Kurds.
- Funeral of the AcrobatMarch 1, 2021 - 5:31 am
The play is a comedy about how the lives of people of a small town by the sea change from the effects of urban renewal. An old man Rasim, whose nickname is Acrobat passes away. He wants his three houses within a big land should be shared among his three children without being sold for urban renovations projects in town. He also requested from his children to be buried in this land upon his death. However, while he is on his deathbed, his children have already sold the land and the houses for a renewal project. The townspeople are also divided between supporting renewal projects or not. Two teenage grandchildren of Rasim secretly decide to realize their grandfather’s last will even if a bulldozer comes to demolish the land.
Play is written for two actors with no gender specifications. These two are mainly storytellers by being several characters throughout the story. This play is important in portraying the urban renovation processes that are taking place in Turkey after a more conservative government has started to build an economy based on the construction sector after the early 2000s. The micro-story that the play is about happens as similar ways for a lot of people all around the country who are in between defending personal urban memory and gaining more capital in an economy unsustainably growing.
- You Are More Beautiful Than IstanbulMarch 1, 2021 - 4:38 am
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.
- I Love You TurkeyMarch 1, 2021 - 4:36 am
The play tells the story of an unexpected encounter of five young people at a laundromat in the middle of Istanbul. One of them is an employee at the facility and the others are customers waiting for their laundry since there is a water supply cut in the neighborhood. At first they don’t seem like they have anything in common to share. However, once the employee suspiciously reveals a situation that may cause one of these customers to find themselves in a criminal offense, the story unfolds to present each character’s own perspective on how they see the society they live in. Text successfully utilizes post dramatic approach in its structure. While characters try to prove their innocence we hear conversations and monologues that are reflecting their positions and reactions for Turkey’s current political climate. Play’s choice of space and time playfully brings characters who are quite alike together so throughout the play it is possible to understand several perspectives about Turkey as if we are presented an extensive discussion of issues of 2010s such as Gezi Protests, recent military coup d’etat attempt and its aftermath, leaving country for good etc. Rather than constructing a definitive conclusion, the play poses several questions letting the audience keep themselves once the play is over such as: At which age does one feel themselves responsible about the issues of the world around them?
- Light TheoryMarch 1, 2021 - 4:35 am
While tremendous political and cultural changes have been happening in Turkey beginning from the second half of 2010s many well educated people started asking themselves whether they want to leave the country or not. Light Theory is about this feeling in Istanbul that a lot of people are experiencing at this time: Finding themselves in a situation in which one will be forced to leave where they were born and live. There are stories of three people in the play: Anna is a scholar from Medieval Istanbul, Feraye is a young student who fled the war in Syria and came to Istanbul, Kaan is a thespian who is preparing to leave Istanbul for good. All of them are forced to leave a place at different times, and they all stop and think whether they forgot something just before they shut their suitcases. Then an archaeologist from a very far future introduces her discovery, which tells us their stories. As their lives are shaped by obligatory journeys, Light Theory imagines the potential meanings of the marks left on our shared futures, which we assume will fade away in time.
- It’s Never Gonna be the Same! Wipe Your TearsMarch 1, 2021 - 4:34 am
The play is a one-man performance and one of the first works concerning the Gezi Park Resistance that emerged in 2013. Staged by Mek’an Sahne, it tells Gezi’s story through the eyes of a street child. Avzer / Mustafa is a teenager now who was left at the age of three at an orphanage by his mother. When he grows up, he escapes from the orphanage and lives alone in the streets of Ankara. He sleeps in abandoned buildings. When he wakes up one morning, he encounters a completely different city occupied with thousands of people protesting on the streets and parks. Though he can not understand what happened at all, he likes the feeling of brotherhood and enthusiasm carried by the demonstrators and then he becomes involved in the movement.. The dramatic change sparking his story will come when he meets the “girl and boy”.
During the performance, he sits on a chair on the empty stage, smokes weed and speaks the street language. He tells his story and asks the audience where “the girl and boy” are now in order to retrieve the lost and missed opportunities he gained in occupy days.
- The Sack of the WitchMarch 1, 2021 - 4:31 am
The Sack of the Witch is the pioneer example of the field of politicizing transgender life stories in Turkey. Written and performed by the feminist, activist, and trans performer Esmeray, the performance is based on her real-life story from her childhood in Kars, eastern Turkey, to her migration to Istanbul. She works in different jobs but then becomes a sex worker. Her life is difficult because, as well as being trans, she is also Kurdish. When she acquaints us with ideas of feminism, women’s rights, and leftism she becomes an activist struggling for sexual and ethnic identity and gives up sex labor. Based on a feminist and humorous approach, her performance takes the audience into a journey from the 80s and 90s to 2000s, showing socio-political events and revealing relations based on gender, national, ethnicity, and class questions.