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)

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