The Sinner and The Sin in The Scarlet Letter

            The portrayal of Hester Prynne’s predicament against a Puritan community depends largely on Hawthorne’s historical, moral and psychological background. The concept of sin occupies a considerable amount of space in people’s lives in the base time of the novel, and this concept is skillfully handled by Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was brought up in a community similar to that presented in The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne’s imagination mingled with his biography gives life to four major characters in the novel, who are in one way or another sinful. It is not possible to list the characters’ names in order of importance. Yet, what we can call the traditional triangle of a woman, her husband and her lover exists in the novel. However, what makes their situation rather outstanding is the common opponent which they all have to confront one by one, and that is Puritan society.
            All four characters are equally indispensable and equally important. They act and speak for themselves which means there is no character who is introduced in the novel for the sake of subordinating the other. However, if one tends to declare Hester as the chief figure among them, it is because of the perpetual misgiving and pity that arouses in the reader while witnessing her predicament.
            Hester Prynne is depicted as a strong character in almost all the scenes -- from her portrayal in prison to the market-place where she stands on a high platform holding her illegitimate child facing her secret lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, her long absent husband, Roger Chillingworth, and also the puritan society, whose religion and law are almost the same. In her silence, she voices her reaction to the assembled community who act and decide harshly even at their most merciful moments. Hester becomes a total stranger, not because she detaches herself, but because she is detached by the society who put on blinkers given to them by the Puritan rules. After she is set free, she moves to a deserted house on the outskirts of the town. This is a sterile place, the earlier owner of which abandons it, as the soil is not convenient for cultivation. Hester starts a new life with her unlawful child in such a place, but earns her living on her own, without making futile complaints which will make everything worse for her. Instead, she makes ample use of her art – the needlework – which fascinates everybody and becomes the fashion among members of the society who punish Hester severely for her sin, and make her wear  “the scarlet letter.” On the other hand, for Hester the scarlet letter is only the sign of her sin which she maturely accepts as a reality, just like Pearl. With her artistry she tries to survive; moreover helping those who are in poverty, and in desperate need for help keeps her busy. Hester continues to live with the sin she committed and never looks for an escapist solution, like going to another European country or declaring Arthur Dimmesdale as her fellow-sinner.
            Arthur Dimmesdale is incapable of such bravery and act of loyalty like his lover. He cannot be so courageous as to tell the truth, and prefers to live a life of hypocrite. The most significant moment in Hester’s life, when she faces the crowd with her baby in her arms on the pillory is marked by Arthur Dimmesdale’s words who ironically demands Hester to reveal the baby’s father. His words carry pathetic overtones of a man who is torn between his sin and his honorable position as a minister in a Puritan society.  “Wondrous strength and generosity of a woman’s heart” (Murfin 68) saves the poor man’s life, but causes his eternal suffering. Arthur Dimmensdale hides his secret in his heart till the last day in his life, only confessing his sin just before he dies. Hester’s passive role in Arthur Dimmesdale’s punishment is given to her by old Roger Chillingworth, who seeks revenge and avenges himself on Dimmesdale no harsher than the Puritan society that punishes Hester because of her sin.
            Chillingworth finds no fault in Hester and if he finds her guilty he knows that she is already punished by the society. He approaches Hester first as a physician who merely thinks of helping his patient, and as her old husband who puts Hester into his heart’s “innermost chamber” (72). Hester never breaks her promise and does not tell Chillingworth the name of the baby’s father, upon which Chillingworth takes on oath to find out the man, whom he thinks has wronged both Hester and him. He also makes Hester promise not to recognize him when he shows up. His words scare Hester who feels helpless and alone. Chillingworth makes one thing clear before he leaves Hester and her child alone in the dungeon they are imprisoned: While giving a soothing message to Hester that he will not give any harm to her and the child, he makes some threatening remarks for “someone” whose soul will be ruined by him. Chillingworth’s vindictive thoughts and later deeds make him the greatest sinner. Acting like an omnipotent being he committed one of the deadly sins – pride. Thus, he becomes the most tragic character in the novel. Both Hester Prynne and Arthur  Dimmesdale come to recognition in the end, and they undergo a kind of change. Both of them become aware of what they did and achieve individuality at the end of the novel; however, Chillingworth carries his revenge till the end.
            Pearl, the fruit of the unlawful relationship between a man and a woman, is also worth mentioning, as she is created by a wrong done by two adults. This extraordinarily clever girl later becomes an elf child. Although she is the product of a potential sin, she is doomed to be a sinner herself. Her reactions towards the scarlet letter that her mother wears, her surprisingly wise questions and her outstanding physical appearance with her dark eyes distinguish her from the other children brought up in the same community.
            The Puritan society Hawthorne presents in The Scarlet Letter  is the one he does not approve of. He shows the prejudices of a society which cause the downfall of a man and a woman who act according to their instincts. Hawthorne gives a lesson to this readers by taking this society as his example. After all, they are created by the norms of a Puritan society and have to live according to the strict rules set by puritanism. Hester is presented like a flower that is cultivated in a barren soil, and her child becomes a creature in between her mother and the society around her. Pearl, the precious stone, as her name suggests, becomes a totally strange being who cannot even be recognized by her own mother.
            The desirability  of the Puritan society is questioned by Hawthorne, through Hester Prynne. Although the greatest sinner seems to be the society, all the characters discussed above are sinful in one way or another. They are the products of the Puritan society, but still with their individual responses to various situations, they differ from each other, also from the people living in society. Hester’s sin is sexual, as she becomes pregnant out of wedlock. The child grows up to be an independent, an unsociable person. Insociability is also considered to be sin by the Puritan society. Like her mother Pearl is isolated. She does not have friends except the doll that is made by her mother and used by Pearl in a kind of witchcraft in one of her solitary moments. Her striking independence as a little girl and surprising questions about her father and the letter “A” on her mother’s breast alienates her from society. According to the Puritan society she inherits her mother’s sin, and most probably will become a person like Hester.

            As for Arthur  Dimmesdale, his sin is twofold: Apart from his act of adultery, his withdrawal like a coward when Hester faces the harsh society whose prejudices turn the life of all four characters into tragedy, adds to his crime. He pays the debt of being a hypocrite very bitterly, both to Roger Chillingworth and to society, but Hester and Pearl are the most injured characters. The decision of Chillingworth's hiding his secret and living a life of a hypocrite causes no pity or fear on the side of the reader. He commits another crime by keeping quiet.
            Roger Chillingworth, on the other hand becomes the most tragic character by committing one of the Seven Deadly Sins — pride. He acts like a judge and using the authority of a judge punishes Arthur Dimmesdale severely,  just like the society punishes Hester Prynne. His obsession of taking his revenge as the ex-husband of Hester Prynne turns him into a god-like figure as he carries his vindictive thoughts and deeds till the end. Therefore, the concepts of sin and the sinner are handled in The Scarlet Letter, yet in different forms. The four main characters are sinful and they encountered the Puritan society, which seems to be the greatest sinner in the novel.

All references to the text of The Scarlet Letter are from Ross C. Murfin, The Scarlet Letter  (Boston: Bedford Books, 1991) 

Dr. Gül Kurtuluş


The Image of Bullfighting in The Sun Also Rises

Themes of meaninglessness of life and death of love are handled by many writers, after the First World War. Among the writers who permanently make use of these themes, Hemingway’s contribution is marked by the characters he created. Hemigway’s characters are created with the idea of their living actually through the concrete example of American life style in 1920s. The characters represent different approaches to the meaninglessness of life that can be observed in The Sun Also Rises. Through them Hemingway ventures to find a possible reason to endure the sense of nothingness of human existence. In order to achieve his aim, he makes his characters bravely encounter the horrors and difficulties of life. In order to validate their existence the characters live thoroughly both the possibilities and impossibilities of life.

All the characters in The Sun Also Rises behave the way to prove Hemingway’s code of undergoing the pains and difficulties of life in order to overcome the extremeties of the highly ambiguous human condition. Their individual response to immediate situations is another striking feature of them.
Robert Cohn is presented as the first character in the novel. The narrator’s note about Cohn’s once being a middleweight boxing champion gives away some important points about this character. Stylistically the novel consists of short and simple sentences. However, these short and simple sentences and dialogues that are easy to follow may easily deceive the reader unless the meaning that they convey is missed uncautiously. Once the reader gts used to this puzzle he stays alert till the last sentence. The information given at the beginning about Robert Cohn exemplifies this situation well.
Cohn still continues to be the strong follower of the romantic view of life. He takes up boxing not because he is fond of fşghting or being beaten by othersi but he uses boxing as a way to prove hislf in society. His boxing career is a compensation for the reactions of his friends to his unpromising existence. By being a boxer he disguises his shortcomings, and tries to find a place for himself among his friends. Moreover, it becomes the only weapon by which he can harm others in defence of his own beliefs. Yet, even this does not prove to be sufficient. His platonic love to Brett makes him silently accepts the insults. He follows Brett everywhere, like a blind lover, no matter how much he is belittled by Mike Campbell, Bill Gorton and Jake Barnes. Cohn uses his strong wrists on his closest friend, Jake, which adds to his weakness. The days he spent with Brett in San Sebastian mean a lot to him, which on the contrary are forgotten the next day by Brett. Jake does not give any response to Cohn’s insistence to know where Brett is, and is beaten by Cohn in his delirium. He cannot accept the reality of Brett’s being with Pedro Romero. Only after his vain attempt to defeat Romero, Cohn leaves the company.
Cohn’s romanticism makes him a target for others. He is influenced by the books he has read and neglects reality for the sake of his own beliefs. His first marriage ends only five years later, and he can get rid of his strong mistress Frances only by escaping to the remote countries.
Mike Campbell accuses Cohn of being a coward, a scapegoat like a steer which is trying to attract the bull. The question is: “Is Robert Cohn going to follow Brett around like a steer all he time?” The image of bullfighting becomes gradually evident as the fiesta approaches. Jake Barnes’ statement “they all know each other” is significant as all the protagonists are like bulls in the arena who know each other quite well, and who continuously fight with each other to get Lady Brett.
According to Jake “the bulls are only dangerous when they are alone, or only two or three of them together.” He himself is a good example to prove this. He shares the same purpose with the others. When he is alone with Brett he seriously thinks of living with her, although he is aware of the impossibility of it. He wishes to keep her in his room as long as he can, and takes great pleasure in kissing her. At times, he seems to abandon his principles at the cost of losing self-respect for the sake of Lady Brett. He is always available for her at an arm-length distance, whenever she wants to be with him. However, unlike Robert Cohn, he never lets her to be the sole determiner of his life.
He goes to fishing with Bill Gorton who thinks life is too short to question “what day God created the chicken.” His life philosophy is best summerized in the following words: “Let us rejoice in our blessings. Let us utilize the product of vine.” This successful writer takes pleasure out of the immediate joys of life like fishing, eating, and drinking. The fishing trip has a unique importance both for Gorton and Barnes, as they share a love for sports. This is another way of overcoming the meaninglessness of existence, and it proves to be a success as they find extraordinary pleasure and beauty in fishing in cold streams and lying under the sun, the details of which are handled with utmost importance in the novel.
Being totally aware of his impotence, Jake finds different interests in life and accepts his situation as a part of reality. He manages to be frank both to himself and to others, and carries his head high in the face of love’s impossibilities. Fort hat reason, he stays calm but not passive to Lady Brett’s affairs. When Count Missipopolous is introduced to him he accepts him as a new member to their club. He is one of the bulls in the arena, that is all.
The passivity of the romantic lover, Robert Cohn who continuously hangs around is criticized by the others. Bill Gorton dislikes Cohn, and expresses his distaste for him through his worsd and behaviour; but Mike Campbell starts the fire by casting him off, and insulting him particularly in his sottish moments. Mike is aware of Brett’s love affairs and he accepts them with tolerance, just like Jake Barnes. However, differently from Barnes he waits for their wedding day with patience and lets Brett only do whatever she wishes till that day. On the other hand, Barnes is aware of the fact that Brett can never be with a person for a long time, evenif this person is Mike Campbell with whom Brett decides to get married. The tension is created by Mike Campbell, but the climax comes with the fight between Robert Cohn and Pedro Romero. Romero, the perfect bullfighter who is young,  handsome, courageous and determined is presented as the ideal man by Jake Barnes. He had the greatness of spirit and behaviour, and proved to be the best by leaving Belmonte and Marcial in the shadow during the bullfight. His humility, kindness and honesty is appreciated by Barnes. Romero cannot demonstrate the same success while fighting with Cohn; however, he endures his greatness by refusing to stay knocked down. Finally, the romantic hero faces his shortcomings, and becomes aware of the vanity of his romantic ideals in the face of real manhood. Romero does not fight only for Brett’s love, either in arena, or in the hotel room, but to fulfill something inside him. This contributes to his strength and self-respect:
Everything of which he could control the locality he did in front of her all that afternoon. Never once he did look up… Because he did look up to ask if it pleased he did it all for himself inside, and it strenghtened him, and yet he did it for her, too. But he did not do it for her at any loss to himself. (Hemingway 180)
Robert Cohn and Pedro Romero present the two extremes, and Jake Barnes wishes to be like Romero. However, for Lady Brett he can only be a go-between, counselor, or a friend to rely on in the most difficult moments. In this sense he resembles Cohn. For love’s sake, he helps Lady Brett and prepares the suitable medium for Romero and Brett to come together. Brett never deserves this help, and deliberately misinterpretes Romero’s act of bringing the bull’s ear to her as a token of her own success, adding another name to her list. She carries it to her room and puts it in a drawer near her bed. Later, seh forgets all about it. On the other hand, the ear is a sign of strength for the Spanish society, as the same bull jas killed a man among the crowd before the fiesta starts. Thus, Romero’s success means something important for society, which is to be shared with them. Whereas, Brett takes it for granted and is probably proud of herself for having the ear. For Barnes, Romero becomes an ideal example with whom he wishes to be identified. He becomes very upset and takes up drinking when Brett and Romero leave the place and  go to Madrid together.
In Book three, Barnes continues to be the available man for Bett when she calls him to Madrid in need of help. The news that announces the split between Romero and Brett comes as a compensation for Barnes. It relieving for him to know that Romero is not corrupted. Romero pays cost of being with Brett and from then on continues his life independently, but as an experienced man.
The end shows Barnes’ realization that it had not been fort he war, in other words, if he had not been wounded in the war, nothing would have changed. It is symbolic that the policeman stops their car, and this sudden action causes Brett to come closer to Barnes. Just like this incidence, their relationship is based on coincidence. Brett has numerous adventures and love affairs, and Barnes would be only one of those men if he had not been wounded. Yet, this idea consoles him and makes him happy. At least, it is “pretty” to think that he could have a love affair with Lady Brett.
The characters cerated by Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises explore the possibilities of a struggle in life in order to overcome the meaninglessness of existence. Like bulls in the arena they fight at the cost of being wounded and even at the cost of death. They try to do their best in this fight, but the bullfighter becomes triumphant. Romero fulfills Hemingway’s code of adjusting to the facts of life and thus validating his existence, by making self-respect and courage his only weapons.
Works Cited
Hemingway, Ernest. Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises. London: Grafton Books, 1976.
Dr. Gül Kurtuluş


Partners in Crime: A Suspenseful Thriller About a Couple in Search of the Truth

I went to Şinasi Sahnesi, a state theater, on 30 April 2013 to see Eric - Emmanuel Schmitt’s Partners In Crime. Schmitt is a Belgian playwright and the original title of his play is Petits Crimes Conjugaux (2004). The play is translated into Turkish by Serap Babür as Karı Koca Arasındaki Ufak Tefek Cinayetler and directed by Mustafa Kurt. It is a play for two actors, the husband and wife. Gilles is portrayed by Sinan Demir while Demet Oran acts as Lisa. Şinasi is one of the modern theatre buildings in Ankara, therefore the atmosphere was different than of Küçük Tiyatro. It is a big auditorium with a good view of the stage. The level of the stage is higher than the seats of the audience which gives the feeling of watching two people’s lives as a third person observer who has no saying in their lives. Before the performance began and at the break Christina Aguilera’s song, “Hurt”, was played. Audience was warned when play was about to start by different telephone melodies which made people laugh and brought a lighter mood to the performance. 
Starting from the very first scene, the actors did an amazing job and attracted the full attention of the audience. It is a fairly short play, 80 minutes, however, there were many scenes that surprised the audience, that is, the play was full of twists and turning points. It opens with the scene of the couple coming back home and we soon realize that Gilles is suffering from amnesia since he does not remember his home or not even sure whether Lisa is really his wife. As Lisa and Gilles talk back and forth about the accident, the audience realizes that Lisa is hiding some details by ignoring or avoiding Gilles’ questions. In later scenes, to our amazement, it is revealed that Gilles actually did not lose his memory except the last day which is the day of his accident. Gilles’ reaction to the events, and his gestures made audience laughed in various times. Later in the second act, Gilles confesses that he knew what happened all along, that Lisa tried to kill her by hitting his head with a heavy sculpture in the dark. In each of these scenes, the audience was surprised by the turn of events. Even though the events depicted are not as fun, the play can be categorized as comedy, since it made the audience laugh in many scenes. Moreover, I believe the audience enjoyed the play because it is about a couple’s relationship, a topic everyone is familiar with. In some scenes, the dialogues made the audience burst into laughter but it would not be considered that funny if the audience did not have a similar experience. One point of disappointment is that the audience was not as respectful as in the plays I have seen before. A ringing phone during the performance and the fact that audience kept moving and making little noises made it hard for me to focus on the stage.

Partners in Crime is a modern play written in 2004. Therefore, it provides an insightful look into the problems of modern marriages. It is a realistic play in that sense. The peak point of excitement was the ultimate revelation point, when the audience learns that Gilles remembers everything including the very moment of the accident. Even though the play is about a murder attempt, it has a lighter mood than expected due to the comedy scenes and the success of the actors. The playwright suggests that even though a murder attempt might be seen as a little too far, it is also a natural turn of events. He strengthens the feeling that it could happen in any marriages. One of the possible themes I could think of after seeing the play was feminism. Although Lisa is the one who tried to kill Gilles, the audience sympathizes with her more since she was neglected by Gilles during their 15 years of marriage and Gilles often cheated on her. Loyalty in relationships, alcohol addiction (of Lisa), the problems of a modern marriage, and losing the excitement of love in a long-term relationship are the possible themes of the play which are clearly expressed by the playwright.
Last but not least, the production of the play was quite successful. Stage design, the living room of a house, was well-done. The lighting of the stage changed when the couple was tracing back their memories to the day they first met and it was a good touch. Moreover, the songs were an important of the production. Playing different Christina Aguilera songs that matches the mood of the play at that particular moment was also a good addition. The old jazz songs which are used while the actors were dancing or reminiscing important parts of their lives gave the feeling of a movie to the production. Overall, the play offers a fun, heartwarming love story to its audience for 80 minutes and it is a good example of modern plays.
 Melek Cansu Petek (ELIT I)


On Der Prozess by Bilkent Drama Atelier

 Der Prozess, Kafka’s remarkable work of literature, tells the story of humankind in twentieth century which is also known as the age of fear. It’s as not popular as Die Verwandlung, yet it’s possible to see the same metaphoric language and dark atmosphere surrounding the novel.  As soon as I heard that novel was dramatized by Bilkent Drama Atelier, I went to see it on the stage. This would be quite a different performance, as I had never seen any work of Kafka on a theatre stage.
            The play is about a man named K. who wakes up in a morning and realizes that he is sued by someone for something that he doesn’t know what. He is a common man, working in a common bank and living in a common rest house. However, one day, his routine life totally changes. Two men come his house and say that he is arrested. The case is complicated and shocking as well. He is never informed which crime he has committed and which rule he has violated in law. Everybody he comes across accepts him as a criminal but he is free to do his daily routine.  Court procedures are applied somewhere away. No one can see behind the scenes. Although the prosecution process takes many years, no one is acquitted. K. does whatever he can in order to going for an appeal, he takes everyone’s advice around him, but nothing can be effective. At the end of the play, he meets a priest who claims that K. doesn’t understand anything. The priest shots him down and K. is dead.
            Along the play, a case is mentioned anyone doesn’t think what it really is. Everyone is nervous and hopeless. A depressive tone pervades the whole play.  Normally, it’s possible to find K.’s thought of his own situation in the original novel. In the process of dramatizing, an extremely successful and aesthetic way is preferred to share this thought with the audience. There are two prisoners kept in barred cells. They are dressed in white and black striped clothes and their face are painted white.  Their eyes are always wide open and they look at the audience with dismay.  We can hear K.’s thought from these people’s mouths.  These living figures speak in such a mechanic and disturbing tone that the dark atmosphere pervading the play is strengthen.  I am attracted by especially this part of the play, it is well concerned.
To give extended information about the stage, everywhere is black, corresponding the gloomy atmosphere of the play. Furniture like tables and chairs are modest.  As the places are always changing through the play, the setting is also supposed to change. Bilkent Drama Atelier finds a nice way to do that. Whenever the setting is supposed to change, the light on the stage are dimmed and in the dim light, properties are replaced with the help of technical team behind the scene. At the same time, a sound base which is corresponding to the gloomy air of the play is listened to the audience. Actually, a regular theatre audience is accustomed to it, yet Bilkent Drama Atelier does it in such a good way that I can’t help appreciating it.
The one and only criticism about the play would be related to the acting performances of the players. They are not professional theatre actors and actresses, of course, but I know that they get a diction education at the very beginning of the atelier workshop. Based on this information, I can say that many of them fail to articulate the words properly. This make the audience feel uncomfortable and distract. If they solve this problem, I believe that they will put much more successful works in performance.
In the novel, the reader is never informed what the case is really about. Thus the readers have to realize by means of reasoning and imagination that the case is highly related to the existence of human being. However, in the play any clue is given to the audience about the case, but the reader can make the expected interpretation due to the dark and depressive atmosphere which are strictly kept through the whole play. It’s possible to sense that there is a certain problem with the existence of human being. The problem is not only about the existence, he criticizes insincere relation among man and corrupted social institutions and god. At the beginning of this writing, I mentioned the age of fear. Kafka tries to show us that how fear directs our relationship between social institutions and god. Because of the fear, we avoid questioning the ultimate reason of these authorities in our life. We fear they would threaten or damage our existence on earth. Thus, we leave no stone unturned to deserve their respect, although this costs our lives and our self-respect.
At the end of the play, K.’ is shot by the priest whom he goes to demand help. This shooting scene is presented in quite a realistic way, they use a blank cartridge. The pace of the play is at the top to the end of the play. I liked the dramatization of Kafka’s Der Prozess presented by Bilkent Drama Atelier. It is an original but hard choice to dramatize, but they overcome it in a very successful way. 
Meltem Aydın (ELIT III)

Mojo: Trapped in a Magnetic Field

A play that belongs to the movement in-yer-face, Mojo has been adapted to stage one more time this year. Originally written in 1995 by British writer Jez Butterworth, the play was directed by İlham Yazar and its art director was Edal Beşikçioğlu. The play was performed in Cermodern, Stürdocer on 7th of April, 2013. The actors of the play consisted of famous Turkish actors mostly known for their television projects; Nurset Şenay, Doruk Nalbantoğlu, Ali Yoğurtçuoğlu, İnanç Konukçu, Berkan Şal and Engin Öztürk. The floor of the hall which led to the entrance was with scattered hand-outs of Parlak Johnny – a future star that takes stage at the Atlantic Club.  The audience was accompanied by the song “These Days” by The Black Keys, which in my opinion wrecked the atmosphere to know the song beforehand also to know that the song is contemporary. It was conflicting with the time period that the play set forth. The seats for the audience were placed in a U-shaped setting and were facing the bar of the club and between the bar and the seats were the tables and chairs of the club.

Born in 1969, Jeremy Butterworth is a dramatist and film director. He was born in London and attended Verulam Comprehensive School, St Albans and St John’s College, Cambridge. He had a major success with his third play Mojo which was premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, and the play won the Laurence Olivier, and Evening Standard and the George Devine awards. The director of the play Ilham Yazar was born in Ankara in 1968 and he was graduated from Hacettepe University Conservatory. After being appointed to Diyarbakır National Theatre, he has been a part of Ankara National Theatre since 1995. He has directed the play Mojo before in 2009 for Dib Sahne and for this, he was nominated for Sadri Alışık Theatre Awards The Best Director of the Year. According to the newspaper article of Radikal, İlham Yazar requested the acts to be almost identical to the ones performed in 2009 therefore there was not much change between two versions.
The play is set in Soho and is in the form of a black comedy. The plot is about a day of lives attached to Atlantic Club and their possible salvation through their precious Parlak Johnny and dreams that include America. One day with the death of the owner of the club and Johnny going missing, things go upside down and their dreams collapse.  There rises a new power struggle between the abused son of the club owner and the seemingly loyal manager of the club.

The play began with Şekerci and Potts on stage with implications from their speech that Parlak Johnny is in a room having a business talk with some. The audience hears about their dreams and how Potts discovered Johnny singing by a guitar in the streets. By their actions and their ways of speech we are given that they’re high which makes the setting even more realistic considering the time period and their states. Also both theirs and other actors’ speeches and acts towards each other is very disturbing which is a necessity for the in-yer-face movement.
            The costumes of the actors were very simple and daily but also belonging to the time period. There were skinny leather pants on one of them; hippie-like saggy cotton outfit on the other, and Johnny was in shiny silver trousers. And Mikey who is somewhat wealthy manager of the club was in white trousers and very-mentioned in the game baby animal leather shoes.
            The performances along with coming and going loud music and mist really put the audience in the mood. The audience felt as if belonged to the club and I believe at some point this went so far that the language full of curses and threats only made the audience giggle or even laugh at points. The end of the play however, shook the audience. Even after the violence had gotten ordinary, what is revealed in the end that is Mickey being a inside man and getting the owner of the club killed in order to profit from the club and Johnny himself, the death of Sıska and especially the reaction Mickey gives to his death was moving. It was not until then that I realised the power of abuse and its importance in the play. And it was not until now that I am writing about it that the most possible reason that Bebe, the son of the dead club owner who was violated by his father as a child, hated Sıska so much because his abusement was in the past whereas Sıska was still being abused by Mickey. As it is written in Radikal, the play has no intention of dictating or giving a message but it sure pushes the audience to their limits and makes them think.
Works Cited
Izci, Ipek. "Çünkü dünya, her yerdir!." Radikal 02 02 2013, n. pag. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <http://www.radikal.com.tr/radikal.aspx?atype=radikaldetayv3&articleid=1119618&categoryid=41>.

Dilara Ecem Ümitli (ELIT III)

How Far a Mother Can Go for Her Child: Dolores Claiborne

            Dolores Claiborne is an adaptation by David Joss Buckley from Stephen King’s novel which has the same title. It is directed by Hakan Çimenser and the main roles are acted by Fulya Koçak Yeşilkaya, Tolga Tuncer, Deniz Gökçe Kayhan and Serap Sağlar. It is a production of the public theatre. The performance day is 23rd April. The story is mainly related with a middle-aged woman, Dolores, and her relations with her family and with her employee, Vera Donovan. After being accused of murdering her employee, Dolores begins to tell her story from the beginning and the audience learns about her life by watching the flashbacks. The writer of the novel, Stephen King, is obsessed with thriller and human psychology. That’s why the play can be categorized as a psychological thriller. The director, Hakan Çimenser, has directed twenty-six plays including Dolores Claiborne and Kahvehane which was performed in Bilkent Tiyatrosu. Besides being a director, Çimenser is an actor and a director assistant.
            To begin with, the stage design of the play was very creative and unique. The stage was designed as a platform which was mobile. As scenes changed, the stage changed, too. I found this idea very original and appropriate because the scenes changed a lot between the investigation of Dolores and the flashbacks. That’s why I really liked the stage design. The stage was closed before the performance began so there was not a clue related with the themes of the plays. In addition, although it was not exactly similar, the auditorium reminded me the neoclassical French theatre. The stage, the position of the audience and the entrances were nearly the same. After seeing a sketch of this particular kind of theatre, I found these similarities between the auditorium and the sketch.

            The play’s mood was generally gloomy and dark because its main themes were about the violence inside the family, incest and murder. That’s why the play had lots of exiting, thrilling and surprising scenes. For instance, the scene which Dolores kills her husband, Joe, was very exciting. To kill her husband, Dolores makes him drunk and he falls in a well. In this particular scene, there was the help of technology. To see Joe’s reaction in the well, there was a video shown to the audience and Dolores was standing in front of it. It was a very effective scene. In addition, this scene was the peak point of excitement because after this scene, the play changed its mood from thriller to Dolores’ feelings about the murder.  Apart from this scene, there were two scenes which the audience found shocking, according to the reactions of them. The first one Dolores stands behind her husband with an axe. It was a thrilling scene for me, too. The second scene was Joe suddenly hits Dolores with a piece of wood. At this scene, the audience was shocked, I observed.

            Among these thrilling and shocking scenes, the best scenes were the dialogues between Vera Donovan and Dolores Claiborne, in my opinion. Vera Donovan was not a major character but she said the main point of the play.  I was really affected when she said: “Sometimes you have to be a high-riding bitch to survive. Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto”. Although Dolores and Vera had totally different characteristics, they were similar to each other in terms of being a mother and it meant a lot to them. That’s why I think their dialogues about the motherhood were the best part of the play. This idea of the motherhood was an outstanding idea because the play showed us how far a mother can go for her child.
            In terms of the play’s genre, it was mainly related with realism. Stephen King wrote about a family who had lots of problems such as violence, incest, sexual abuse and alcohol. In this sense, the plot was very realistic because there are lots of families with the same problems. In addition, the way King approached the theme of motherhood was also very realistic. In addition, there was a set between the audience and the performers. However, the exact time of the play was not mentioned in it. In my opinion, its purpose was to state that these problems in the family could be anywhere and anytime in the world. In this sense, the play did not focus only one particular kind of race, country and so on.
            In terms of the setting and the technical aspects of the play, I particularly liked the music, the stage design. The music used in the play was very effective, in my opinion. As I stated earlier, the stage was very appropriate and effective. It changed when the scenes changed. However, the sound the stage made during changing was not good at all but the design was so perfect that I almost forgot the noise it made. On the other hand, the lightning, costumes and make up were fine but they were not impressive enough for me. In other words, they were not effective enough to be memorable. In addition, sound effects of the play were unrealistic. I think if a sound effect is not perfect, it should not be used in plays because it makes the play seem unrealistic. Therefore, technical aspects and the setting were not perfect but they were not a disaster.

            Overall, Dolores Claiborne was a very good play in terms of its themes, the plot, the performers, the stage design and directing. Especially the stage design was to perfection. On the other hand, the other aspects were just good. In other words, they did not very bad but they could be better. At the end of the play, you may find yourself thinking about the themes of the play like I did.

Kaan Akın (ELIT II)


From a Spectator's Glance: Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Respectful Prostitute

Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Respectful Prostitute theater production performed at Bilkent’s Theater Salon on 11th March. The director of the performance is Musa Arslanali and the performance included six talented actors and actresses. Most of the actors and actresses are Bilkent students while a few are professional performers. The actors and actresses included Zeynep Koltuk as Lizzie, Haluk Kaya as Fred, Tansel Aytekin as Senator, Baran Can Eraslan as the Black man, Barbaros Efe Türkay as James and Koray Alper as John. The auditorium was fairly large and consisted many seating arrangements. However, it could not fit all of the attendants and the late comers had to sit on the steps next to the seating arrangements of the auditorium. Therefore, the auditorium was very full and not large enough to arrange seats for all the viewers. The stage design completely connected with the theme of the performance. The viewer could immediately understand the theme of the performance by only observing the stage design because it is only the colors black and white which reflect the theme of racism between the black and white’s. 
            The writer of The Respectful Prostitute Jean-Paul Sartre is a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. His works were influenced by philosophical and sociological aspects and are fluent in his literary writings. Jean-Paul had a very unique and genuine character demonstrated when he declined the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature because he believed that literature should not be institutionalized. He was also a leading figure in 20th century French philosophy and Marxism and also in the philosophy of existentialism.
            Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Respectful Prostitute is a 1962 play about a prostitute who is involved in the racism events of the racially afflicted tense American history.  The performance takes place in the 1930’s of America when racism is at its peaking point. Its main plot revolves around a rich white main in the higher class who falsely tries to blame a black man for murdering another person. The audience later realizes that the murderer is falsely accused because the murderer is not the black man but actually the white man whom is accusing others. The white man, known as Fred, is conducted by his family to sleep with a prostitute who has also encountered the falsely accused black man in the scene of a crime. However, she believes that the black man is innocent and should not be sent to prison. Fred sleeps with the prostitute and manipulates her to accuse the black man as the conductor of the crime. The prostitute, Lizzie, is reluctant to testify falsely about the innocent black man and refuses to obey Fred’s words. Later on, Fred’s family members come and persuade her to testify against the black man and manipulate her to agree on testifying against the black man. The peak point of excitement is the scene when Fred’s family members persuade her to testify against the black man. That scene is the peak point because the family finally achieves to falsely prove Fred innocent although he is guilty.
            The major themes in the production consisted of various subjects such as racism against blacks, prejudice and social class. The main significantly evident theme is racism against blacks because the plot of the performance is the false understanding of a black man just because his skin color is black. Prejudice is another theme because the society does not observe the evidence and crime scene which could prove that the black man is not guilty for the crime. The reason for prejudice is because the higher white social class is more manipulative and has more consent from the society. Therefore, the higher class in society is more superior and almost always achieves their aims even if it is false truth. The messages consistent in the performance are the contradictions of racism and the upper hand of the white social class controls the lower black class. This message is demonstrated as Fred controlling the court decision of the Black man by persuading Lizzie to testify against the Black man.  The actors acknowledged the presence of the audience in a representational style throughout the performance. This is because the character is not in interaction with the audience and is only reflected on the existence of their characters. The characters do not acknowledge the existence of the audience and act as if they are living in their own world.
            Regarding the performance in my perspective, I thought that the scenery and the decorations were very creative because they closely suited the themes and plot of the performance. The acting was surprisingly well especially because most of the actors were still students. My favorite character is Lizzie because she tried to defend herself against the control of the higher class even though they had significantly more power over her than she had over them. Her actions reflecting opposition against the higher white class surprised me because opposition is usually not recognized in that specific time period and the women were not as reluctant as Lizzie is against the powerful high class. I was not disappointed in any of the scenes regarding the scenery or acting. However, I was disappointed with the main plot regarding the power the higher class has over the lower class.
            To conclude, the setting is very effective throughout the performance because all of aspects of the scenery are connected to the theme of the performance. The colors of the setting are mainly black and white which represents the theme of the contradictions between the white and black people. The mood and the stage do not significantly change at the end of the performance because the colors of the scenery are the same and the mood still revolves around the contradictions between races. 
 Serap Selma Bıyıklı (ELIT II)