Fifth Undergraduate Conference on Anglo-American Literature: “Multiculturalism”


Bilkent University
Departments of American Culture and Literature
& English Language and Literature

Fifth Undergraduate Conference on Anglo-American Literature:


April 10-11, 2015
Bilkent University, Main Campus

            Bilkent University is pleased to announce the fifth undergraduate conference on Anglo-American Literature, jointly hosted by the Departments of English Language and Literature and American Culture and Literature. The conference will concentrate on multiculturalism in literature, culture, arts and pictures, and on screen and stage but its scope is intended to be broader. This year, we are excited to extend proposals not only to academic papers, but also alternative presentations such as: roundtable discussions, original creative writing, original performances (individual or group), original art projects, original film projects, amongst other possibilities.  You are encouraged to think of “multiculturalism” broadly.  Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:
  • Defining multiculturalism (what is multiculturalism)?
  • Multicultural folk culture(s): legends, tales & stories, storytelling practices, spiritual worldviews and spiritual practices, daily life, etc. 
  • Multiculturalism through the ages
  • Comparative multiculturalisms
  • Gender and multiculturalism
  • Politics and multiculturalism
  • Race and multiculturalism
  • Multiculturalism and globalization
  • Multicultral literature, film, art, performances
  • Multiculturalism and the media
  • The status of multiculturalism in Turkey

We invite you to submit a proposal of 250 words by 10 March 2015. Proposals will be reviewed by the committee on the basis of academic value and originality. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by the beginning of February, 2015 and presenters will be asked to submit their complete papers by March 30th. Presentations should not exceed 15 minutes. If you are interested in organizing a panel or a workshop, please include your requests while sending the proposal.



ELIT Mourns the Loss of Prof Talat Sait Halman

Prof Talat Halman, the Acting Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature passed away on Friday, December 5th, 2014.

In loving memory of Talat Hoca, whom we hold closest to our hearts...

He will never truly leave us, his light will always illuminate our path...

He will live on in the kindness he has shared and the love he brought into our lives.


An Issue of Simplistic Discrimination of Escapees

The play I have gone to see is “Macbeth: Bir Fikr-i Firar Meseli” in its original name, Turkish. It can be translated to English as “Macbeth: An Issue of an Idea of Escape”. It is both written and directed by Yılmaz Angay, who is a part of the theatre organization “Tiyatro Yeraltı” – “Underground Theatre Community”, as well as the whole actors. There are three characters playing as the leading roles, whose names are, Anıl Seren, Zeynep Başaran and Doğan Aktaş. The rest of the actors are mostly playing as puppeteers, and they are, Ali Değirmenci, Attila Aytekin, Aylin Topal, Fulya Paksoy, Hüseyin Martlı, Yağmur Yalçın, Sedot. It was performed in the theatre “Tiyatro Tempo” – which is a private theatre company – in 30 March, 2013, in Ankara. The theatre hall was relatively small, with an approximate capacity of 100 people. There were no single chairs to sit, instead, long chairs which are designed for approximately 10 person to sit were placed. Moreover, the chairs were quite close to the stage, which enables to see the actors’ mimics closely and not to miss any word. Before the play started, a few stools were placed on both of the right and left sides of the scene, which never left out of the stage through the entire play.

            The play makes its story based on some of Shakespeare’s plays, to wit, The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, Hamlet and Macbeth, and focuses on their plot which involve intrigues, war and masculine dominance. It is based on the idea of escape, clearly, there are three characters chosen from the three different plays of the Shakespeare, who decided to escape from Shakespeare’s pen and written papers, for their fate were determined to be miserable by Shakespeare. These three characters are totally against the main themes in Shakespeare’s plays, which are aforementioned: war, masculine dominance etc. The relation between Macbeth is that, they want to make Macbeth abandon his fate written by Shakespeare, not to kill anyone and live on his own. In fact, they want Macbeth to not to commit any murder, care for his wife more than he used to do; the three characters mostly combine the idea of freedom with these traits.
            These three characters were the only ones playing as themselves, apart from that, the story of 

Macbeth has been performed by puppeteers, Macbeth, the king and Lady Macbeth were introduced as puppets, which makes one easily say that their fate are determined by someone, in this case, by Shakespeare. Enough significant, there were two Macbeths, one of them was playing in the performance of Macbeth, and one of them was watching the play and thinking about what he has been doing. While he watches, three escaped characters try to enlighten Macbeth and want to make him escape from his determined fate. There are two climax at the play, which are really resemble to each other. First is the scene in which Macbeth is about to decide to escape from his fate, but he gives up, and the play goes on. The second is the last scene in which entire players leave the scene to make Macbeth think about his own situation and decide whether to escape or not, however, the audience gets no information there: after every actors leave, the light goes off slowly and Macbeth does not show any sign of escaping or the opposite. Nevertheless, Macbeth can be considered as in aware of his situation, in other words, he is aware of his determined fate. After all, the play’s overall theme is that every man must “break his chains” and stop acting as in Shakespeare’s plays, stop fighting, stop misbehaving women etc. Furthermore, this idea is also directly told to the audience by the escaped characters, and their story concerning how they have escaped are told to the audience as well. Since these three characters have been representing the “good” side, and the audience were expecting Macbeth to escape and join them, there was a good relationship in between those three characters and the audience. Nonetheless, it can be said that the play falls prey to this greatly simplistic discrimination between the good side and the bad side, i.e. escaped ones and the others.

            To talk about the scenes specifically, the most surprising scenes were already mentioned. First one, before which Macbeth abandons the idea of escape, was a very optimistic scene, a lively music was being played to create a sense of optimism, and this optimism creates an excitement among the audience. And, the finale made the audience leave the play confused, one may say that there was no enough clue to have a guess about Macbeth’s final decision, though this situation could be intentionally created. This sense of optimism were not limited within some specific scenes; the actors have been constantly putting humour in the speeches. Eventually, the play was not able to carry its excitement into the finale, therefore, it is reasonable to argue that the audience were not wholly satisfied at the end of the play.

            I am not totally in contradiction with the reaction of the audience; a soliloquy of Macbeth could be introduced to the finale, which would make the theme and Macbeth’s thoughts about the whole actions and speeches throughout the play, clarified. There were only the escaped characters’ voice I was able to hear in the whole play, however, hearing a different voice from a different perspective would be better. In general, the play divides people in between two, simply, escaped, good ones and the others, which is the worst aspect of the play. Apart from these, the scenes in which the three characters talk about their story were well prepared.

            Lastly, the setting and the production of the performance: the three characters were almost always at the centre-forward of the scene, and the puppeteers were at the behind. Lightning was basically applied on only the ones who speak or speaking on behalf of the puppets. Moreover, there was a shadow play at the left of the scene, which was animating the play, Macbeth, Macbeth at the war, Macbeth when he kills the king, etc. There was a music around when the play was about to reach its peak points, which simply exciting songs played by a transverse flute man, who is also a puppeteer. The music was successful in evoking excitement in the peak points. The costumes were not noteworthy, though. The three characters were dressed-up in an old-fashioned way, and all the puppeteers were dressed-up in pure black dresses. There was a problem with the setting however, sometimes, during the three characters’ speeches, the puppets were acting or there was the shadow play going on, which led me to miss some parts of the shadow play or the puppets” acting, since they were relatively at the back of the scene.
                                                                                                   Yakup Kutsal Koca


Jean-Paul Sartre, the famous existentialist philosopher wrote so many plays. On eleventh of March, we went to see one of them, named “La Putain Respecteuse” which was presented by the students of Bilkent Performing Arts in Turkish. Fortunately, the play was put on the stage in our campus, so we didn’t need to go far away. To be honest, if we had known that it would be presented in such a successful and effective way, we would definitely go to see it regardless without thinking its place.
The play was first presented in 1946 in France. After it was translated by the famous Turkish poet, Orhan Veli Kanık, it was performed in Turkey, in 1950. Since that day, the audience in Turkey have had chance to watch this play in various theatre stages. The one, which is in Bilkent is directed by Musa Arslanalı. The lead roles are performed by Zeynep Koltuk, Haluk Kaya, Baran Can Eraslan and Tansel Aytekin. The theatre hall is relatively small compared to other halls in Ankara. For this reason the auditoriums is small too and so close to the stage. As for the stage, it is decorated like a bed room. There is a messy, white bed at the left which seems that someone slept on it last night. At the centre in the room, there’s a coffee table and at the back, there’s a chest of drawers with a mirror. A woman, later, whom we learn that her name is Lizzie, tidies up the room while singing. The performance begins with that.
At the back of the stage, there’s a section opening to a bathroom where a man is taking a shower and there’s a door at the right back. Someone heavily bangs at the door. Later we learn that he is a black person who runs away the cops and he wants Lizzie to hide him. The truth is that, Lizzie is more inclined the story than it seems. The night before, that black person, Lizzie and some other guys were in the train. The whites was abusing Lizzie verbally and disturbing her. Trying to save her, two blacks discussed with the whites and there came out a fight. One of the blacks was shot by the whites. Because the other was accepted as equally dangerous, he needed to be captured and sentenced to death. The heart of the matter is that, the person who killed the black was Senator’s nephew.  Senator’s son found Lizzie and slept with her. Then it becomes clear that, his true intention was to deceive her and make her verify the story saying that she was harassed by the blacks and this was why the whites needed to shoot one of them. Otherwise, Senator’s family name would be defamed by this guilt. The people in the city are already willing to accept that the black are always guilty. The play is totally based on this prejudgement and discrimination about the blacks.
Lizzie is a prostitute, who has just arrived the city to work.  She believes that her fate is kind a sick, because wherever she goes, she gets into the hot water anyway. She’s an ignorant but a kind-hearted and honest woman. Senator’s son, Fred exploits her ignorance and feels free to make use of her bodily.  From the very first acquaintance with Fred, we, as the audience sense that he’s quite a proud and arrogant man. After he slept with Lizzie, he always humiliates her. When he gives out his true intention, he threats her with death to sign the document verifying the story they made up. He shouts and even beats her. The play’s second theme is surely the violence and humiliation towards women. The excitement of the audience hits the top especially when she is beaten by Fred.
Lizzie is decisive about not signing the paper, because she makes a word to the black taking shelter in her home while running away the police. She knows the truth and sure that the black is pure innocent. The one and only guilt he has is being black. Lizzie pities her. Even after she is threaten and beaten by Fred and his white friends so many times, she doesn’t change her mind. This is the point when the audience makes the sense of the title of the play. Lizzie is really a respectable prostitute for she roots for the underdog. Violence is totally useless to change her mind. Then, Senator comes in and he tries to convince Lizzie with sweet talk. Here we meet so-called weakness and emotional nature of women. At least, she is convinced to sign the paper.
As it can be seen clearly, the main themes of the play are discrimination, gender issues and class difference. Sartre heavily criticizes the social and economic dynamics in the society. He honestly shows how black people are seen as inferior race and accepted as tended to commit crime. The society, discriminating the blacks also has stereotypes about women, mostly related to gender mainstreaming. Women are portrayed as weak to deceive and dishonourable through the play. The last theme, maybe the hard to detect is the class difference, I assume. The document proving that the blacks are guilty is prepared for saving the Senator’s nephew.  As there is a colour difference between two races, there’s also a class difference as well. Senator’s struggle to convince Lizzie to make her sign the paper mostly is caused by the intention to save their family name and politic position.
All the messages are conveyed to the audience properly. Although the actors and actress are still students, they are nearly as perfect as Professional players. There’s a few sound and visual effects, but this doesn’t make the play dull, because the story takes place in one room from the beginning to the end.  All the details are so real, there’s nothing illusionistic and symbolic. The white suits that the whites wear may symbolize their race and social positions in the play.

To be critical, the hall was so small and there was no ventilation system. Sometimes this made the audience distract, they didn’t concentrate on what’s going on the stage while trying to cool themselves.  Apart from that, the play is performed in a really Professional way and remarkable words to say.
                                                                                              Meltem Aydın


A very famous novel written by George Orwell, Animal Farm, has been adapted to stage recently. Formed into a play Peter Hall and directed by Erdal Beşikçioğlu, the play was performed in Cermodern, Stürdocer on 31st of May 2013. The actors of the play were Arsal Mazmanoğlu, Adem Aydil, Ahmet Melih Yılmaz, Burak Küçükosman, Ayşegül Çaylı, Mertcan Semerci, Aytek Şayan and Naz Göktan, and some minor characters that concluded to thirteen actors and actresses. The entrance was by the two narrow and dark corridors and the audience were accompanied by slight but strict and fast drumbeats resembling a military order. The place was dim-lighted, a square-shaped stage in the middle with seats at two sides of the stage, viewing the play from all the angles, surrounding it as a cage – or to put it according to the concept of the play, the borders of the farm. There were no curtains so the audience was not separated from the play, as the actors left and re-entered the stage, they were interacting with the audience. Also what hit the audience as they first entered the auditorium was an actor sitting on a baton indicating that his role as a bird.

Born in 1903 as Eric Arthur Blair in Motihari, Bengal, in the then British colony of India the author known by his pseudonym George Orwell was an English novelist and journalist. Born in the British colony of India, where his father Richard, worked for the Opium Department of the Civil Service, he was brought to England at the age of one by his mother Ida. He is famous mostly for his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and allegorical novel  Animal Farm. And the director of the play Erdal Beşikçioğlu who is born in 5 January 1972 is an actor mostly taking roles in theatre but also has showed up in several TV series and movies. He received his education in Hacettepe University Conservatory on the field of performance arts.
Animal Farm is a representational play that sheds light onto human psychology. It scopes a revolt against oppression and more importantly the aftermaths of the event. The plot can be summarised as a revolt of animals against the farmer with the desire of freedom, equality and happiness, and when the farmer is dismissed, another dictatorship rising from within that is even worse than the rule of the farmer. With the characters of pigs Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer the audience is given the effects of power and being in charge on human nature, that are the loss of aim, changes of intentions and most importantly corruption.

The play began with an illusionistic song that was almost in the form of a lullaby or a children’s song – optimistic and full of hope. As the sound got louder, it got disturbed by violent noises almost like explosions that almost foreshadowed the whole play: the play would begin with ideals and dreams, and end up in a really distributive way with the opposite of what was expected.
The costumes were very simple, especially abstained from any luxurious or modern pieces. The characters with their simplistic costumes reflected the pure and natural way of living except for the pigs Napoleon and Squealer who had leather pieces that are not only luxurious but also carry the meaning of their brutality and  harming their own kind. Other than that all the actors had sticks used as forelegs of the animals or in chickens’ cases wings. As the play developed, the audience witnessed that the pigs started to use the sticks as merely arms and not stepping on them and close to the ending they completely disappeared and their walks were similar to humans whom they detested. This was against one of the rules that were established at the very beginning of the play even before the revolt that animals were not ought to walk on two feet.

What was incredibly successful was the actors realisation of their animal characteristics. The specific moves of the sheep or the goat were quite distinguished. Every animal, not only as their specie but also as their own character were different. On several scenes, most obviously at the torture of the donkey, the audience was in horror. There was child audience brought by his parents whose facial reaction to this scene was very remarkable, one could easily see his fear and pity toward the donkey whereas at the same time there was confusion because he could not have understood the reason why the donkey was treated as such.

Being such a successful performance, the play and the actors received a great respect accompanied by applause from the audience at the end. As the audience left through the corridors the whispering comments about the play revealed that the play’s effect on the audience had not lifted and people were filled with sympathy along with the feelings of rage and depression.
                                                                                  Dilara Ecem Ümitli

The Art of Conflict and Friendship

On March 30th, my best friend and I went to see the play called Sanat (originally called Art), written by French playwright Yasmina Reza in 1994 and translated into Turkish by Gencay Gurun, in ODTU KKM. It was inspired by a real event where Reza’s good friend Serge Goldzal, to whom the play is dedicated, bought a white painting and when he showed it to Reza, she said that he was insane and they laughed together. The play depicts the hypothetical dialogues between the friends that could have taken place had they not laughed off Reza’s comment. It was directed by Atilla Sendil and starred only 3 male actors: Hakan Gercek, Bekir Aksoy and Ruzgar Aksoy. The auditorium, Kemal Kurdas Hall, was quite large and stylish with comfortable red chairs and wooden floor. The play started immediately at 8 o’clock as it was said on the leaflet, even though a few people were still trying to get to their seats when the play began. It was a single act play that lasted for approximately 80 minutes.
The play is about three best friends, Serge, Marc and Ivan, and how their friendship is nearly ruined because of a painting on a completely white large canvas with three white lines scattered across it. Serge, who is a refined modern art-lover, buys this painting for 20,000 Euros and proudly shows it to his best friend Marc, who is an egotistical engineer. Upon seeing the painting, Marc vulgarly describes it as “a white piece of shit” which deeply irritates and offends Serge who claims that he can envision a variety of colors and images on the painting because it all comes down to perception. Marc on the other hand, thinks that Serge bought the ridiculously expensive painting simply to show off and pretend that he truly appreciates art. They both decide to ask their other friend Ivan, who is an insecure middle class salesman, for his opinion on the painting. Ivan, reluctant to go against neither friend, mocks the painting and Serge with Marc while telling Serge that he thinks the painting is beautiful and that he really likes it. When the three friends come together, Ivan’s white lies are exposed and they all engage in a fierce argument over their respective opinions on the painting. However, the argument gets more and more personal as each friend starts screaming to the others the qualities that he hates most about them. Marc claims that he is actually annoyed by the fact that Serge no longer admires him, while Serge accuses Marc of having lost his sense of humor and not being modern. Meanwhile, Ivan is already troubled by his fiancée’s nagging and his own failures in life, and now he is torn between his best friends with whom he is supposed to relax and have fun. After a fierce fight they eventually cool off and Serge hands Marc a pen and asks him to draw whatever he likes on the painting, thus proving that their friendship matters more to him.

At various points, for instance right at the start of the play, the actors started up a monologue in which they directly address the audience where they try to justify what they think and do, and complain to us about one another. This created a bond between us and the characters that allowed us to sympathize with each of them on different levels. Despite the uncomfortable relationship between the characters and the tense atmosphere it created, everyone in the audience was quite amused by their quarrel, which is supposed to be distressing. Everyone often chuckled at their sarcastic and mocking remarks. For example, when Ivan came in late to their gathering and first apologetically, then hysterically started to explain in one breath how he was torn between his fiancée and his mother quarreling over the wedding invitations, his frustrated discharge of emotions received great laughter and applause from the audience. The audience also laughed and applauded when the actor who played Marc accidentally broke the chair he was sitting on and almost fell. To my surprise, he was so embarrassed that he couldn’t stop grinning and had to bend his head and hide his face, and when he finally managed to fix his chair, he gave a thumbs up to the audience who was still applauding. Instead of thinking it was an unprofessional act, everyone was amused by this sincere and spontaneous moment. In one scene, while the characters were having a heated argument yet pretended to be casual, Ivan abruptly screamed out that maybe they shouldn’t hang out anymore if they hated each other so much. The characters, as well as the audience and especially I, were petrified and surprised by this sudden remark which was true and logical, yet unexpected from a character that was afraid to share his true emotions for fear that he might hurt someone.
Since it portrayed scenes and moments from three friends’ everyday lives, it was a realistic play. Surely everyone in the audience could somehow relate to the characters and think about their own selves and friends and their relationships. Since the theme of friendship constitutes a big part of anyone’s life, certain moments and dialogues between the friends reminded us of certain personal memories. While watching the play, I realized I had friends like these men: a cultivated and sophisticated friend who is a bit self-important like Serge, an arrogant and critical friend like Marc, and a friend who remains passive and reluctant to speak his mind in order to please others around him, like Ivan. I also noticed that I myself too, shared some qualities with all of the characters in certain situations in my personal life. The mood of the play was sarcastic, realistic but comical throughout the play, just like scenes from our own personal lives. The theme of art was also questioned as the characters gave their own opinions and interpretations on what art is or should (or should not) be; it also introduced the idea that friendship itself is an art.

In addition to the simplicity of the cast which consisted of only three people, the decorations were also minimalistic. The whole play was set in Serge’s living room in his apartment, where there was a white carpet, three white chairs around a white coffee table, a white wooden bar at the back, a white standing lamp, and a couple of white modern art decorations on the wall; the infamous white painting was also displayed almost the entire play. Basically, the color white dominated the whole play; it signified minimalism, and the pure and simple nature of friendship. However, most of the white objects never remained clean and tidy until the end; the coffee table was extremely messy with snack plates and glasses of alcohol, the characters threw peanuts and snacks at the chairs while fighting, and at the very end Marc tainted the painting by smudging a couple of black lines which he made into a stickman skiing down a mountain on it. This act of drawing on the painting symbolized forgiveness and the importance of friendship. It also introduced the idea that while their friendship became stained with scorn and hatred, the actual stains on the canvas symbolized reconciliation and made everything right again. After the surprising scene of Marc drawing on the painting, the scene ended but each character gave a short individual speech reflecting on what happened afterwards. Marc said that he told Serge that he was sorry he despised him and drew on his expensive painting, while Serge said that he told Marc it was not important because he knew how to get the stain off with club soda and detergent, yet he never told him that because he didn’t want to be a pedant. Ivan, who surprised and amazed the audience with his overwhelmed and pitiful nature, was addressing his psychiatrist in his final speech, where he told him that their reconciliation made him cry out of joy. I was very moved by these speeches because the characters had decided to make sacrifices and an effort to make their relationship work. 

The lighting was also minimalistic, with a simple lamp at the corner of the living room that gave out a dim light. There was no music or sound effects throughout the play. The characters wore everyday clothes: the “elite” characters Serge and Marc wore casual black suits and white shirts, while the middle-class Ivan wore jeans and an ugly sweater. In every way, from the decorations and costumes to the plot and dialogues, the play brilliantly reflected ordinary scenes from ordinary moments from ordinary relationships of friendship.

                                                                                               Zeynep Ciger


V. Undergraduate Conference on Anglo - American Literature!

We wanted you to vote for V. Anglo- American Literature Undergraduate Conference. We appreciate your interest and support! You may find the results  as listed below.


Modern Poetry: 28 Votes

Existentialist Echoes in Literature : 10 Votes

Post Colonial Literature: 12 Votes

Feminism: 34 Votes

Humanism: 42 Votes

Children's Literature: 31 Votes

Woman in Literature: 36 Votes

Medieval Literature: 31 Votes

Politics & Literature: 28 Votes

Fairy Tales: 53 Votes

Postmodern Novel: 31 Votes

Gothic Culture: 52 Votes

Transnationalism: 11 Votes

Multiculturalism: 27 Votes

Ethnic Studies: 19 Votes

Witchcraft: 69 Votes

Mystery: 68 Votes

The Position of Post- Colonial Writers: 5 Votes

Latin American Studies: 10 Votes

Fear in Arts and Literature: 46 Votes

Gothic and Supernatural: 41 Votes

Ecocriticism: 8 Votes

Globalism: 19 Votes

Transatlantic Relations: 8 Votes

(Inter)national Identities: 32 Votes

Religion: 30 Votes


Would you like to join in a Broadway Celebration?: We are all young

Casting Notice:
"We are all young" Broadway Celebration May 16, 2015 Bilkent Concert Salon JASON HALE, Director BASAK ZENGIN
Music Director TBA
Conductor TBA, Choreographer

In cooperation with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra and the Department of Theatre, Bilkent Theatre Department Students, Opera Singing Students and Students from other Faculties will present songs from American Musicals on Turkey’s Youth Day on May 16, 2015. The casting notice is for lead singing roles.
Date: November 10 Place: Bilkent Symphony Salon Time: 17.30-22.30
Reservation: See Zehra Cinel to schedule time. (Deadline: November,7 / 17:00) Students must present two songs from Musical Theatre. One song must be from the compulsory list below . Songs must be sung in its original musical version, key and language and they will be sung along with a provided piano accompanist (applicants may bring their own pianist).

Please bring along song sheets.



Struggles of an Artist: Triestine Joyce

Triestine Joyce is based on the life of James Joyce who is an Irish poet and novelist. The true identity of the character that plays James Joyce was not clearly given as “The James Joyce” in the plot but we are informed by the brochure provided for the audience. Play started in the middle of an event only cover a small, specific are of James Joyce’s life. There were diversity in the experience and age of the people who played their role in the play. Donald Bruce Randall wrote and directed the play. He also played the character that stand for James Joyce in the play. Donald Bruce Randall is experienced in drama. He wrote and directed his plays before just as he did this time. The play took place in the Bilkent University’s Performing Arts Faculty.
            As a brief summary of the plot, story starts with the debts of James Joyce and problem of being unable to pay them. Jim plays a little mind game on creditors and buys himself some time to find more money. Afterwards, story concentrates on the Jim’s relationship with his brother and girlfriend. Then, the day comes that James Joyce finds a solution for both being published and paying his debts.
            The rhythm in the play did not change frequently but the rhythm was neither too slow nor too fast. But there were some parts where the subtext veils the original plot. As if there were more events happened in the play that we failed to observe or missed them. This situation is also a well known narration that helps play to draw audience’s attention. On the other hand, there was another narration style in the play that called “in media res”. “In media res” simply suggest that the play starts in the middle of an event that audience have no clue what is going on but as the play moves on storyline becomes whole.

            In terms of characters, Jim’s nature really fits to the mood of James Joyce as it is a mad genius. As a theatrical character, Jim showed us how cunning James Joyce was. On the other hand, Nora played beautifully but she was more of a round character as the plot requires her to be. It was hard to predict the next sentence or the move of her. In most of the scenes Nora completed the characteristics of the Jim as it did in real life. However, his brother Stannie always represented the ordinary people who mocks on artist and never understands what they are doing. Stannie always gave the most cliché answers that we today still hear about everything. But other characters are in the play almost always talked in Italian and make everyone question themselves that “is it a surprising fact that we do not know Italian?”
            I recall that there were two major tirades in the play which are delivered both by Jim. Those tirades were the most exciting parts of the play; because a long speech as we observed in the play always gives an inside idea about the author’s thought in the matter. It is always nice know how the play shaped in the mind of the creator of the play. Both two tirades successfully touched on philosophical issues as if they are the words of “Grim French Naturalists” that they mocked on stage. The first tirade was about the nature lending money. Jim once again showed how cunning James Joyce was and gave Italians a good long speech where creditors left confused. The second tirade was about father figure and its relation with the god. It was rather existentialist than theistic. Whole speech concentrated on correlation of god and our blood-bonded fathers. There were other outstanding ideas that presented during the play such as “Women always try to teach everyone” and “the real world and art cannot co-exist” but those ideas are failed to be expanded.

            In terms of setting, there were some little and totally understandable mistakes such as lighting the stage and delay in the music. The performance of the people on the stage is limited with the opportunities and luxury that has been provided by the produces and the production crew. Knowing that, it was completely understandable for music to be heard with a few seconds delay. On the other hand, lighting the stage is a more important issue than the music. There were two big bulbs as a primary source of lighting with splash shields on each side and a little lamb on the table. That little lamb perfectly did it job and made us understand the depth of the stage and the true distance between the characters. The problem was the main (key) lights at the back of the stage in my humble opinion. I have no problem about having the main light from back of the stage but that specific light should not reach or directed at the audience. If it is somehow lights the audience, people might not follow easily what is going on in the stage because direct light has blinding effect on human eye. On the other hand, light that comes from the back of the stage crates a dreamy look and make all actors and actresses silhouette and make all good details in the stage hard to remark for audience.

            To sum up, I found the play really exciting and beautiful except for the little details in setting. In most cases it hard for me like and appreciate a good play because I am not really into drama. It was a pleasant thing to see my friends and instructor on the stage. I believe James Joyce would be pleased if he can see this play and his own portrait as a character, cunning and clever that created by Donald Bruce Randall.

                                                                                                     Yiğithan Ersoy ELIT II

From the Eyes of a Spectator: AMERICAN BLUES

On April 10, 2014, I went to the play American Blues by Tenessee Williams. It was directed by Jason Hale, and the characters were played by Baran Can Eraslan, Barbaros Efe Türkay, Beste Güven, Melisa Su Taşkıran who are all junior students in the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts, Performing Arts Department at Bilkent University.  One of the reasons why I chose American Blues is that it was written by Tenesse Williams as he is one of the prominent authors and playwrights of the world literature.  He was born on March 26, 1911, in Mississippi, the US. He stood out, towards the end of the World War II with The Glass Menagerie on his upsetting past. He got good reviews and had important roles in the theatre and cinema circles. A Streetcar Named Desire, another success play by him,  guaranteed his reputation in addition to many awards such as two Pulitzer Prizes. He is also an important figure in screenplays, teleplays, short stories and poetry. In his writings is seen the influence of Anton Chekhov, William Shakespeare, W. Faulkner, E. Dickinson. His one-act plays This Property is Condemned and Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen take place mostly in dialogues. He died in 1981 at the age of 70. When it comes to the director Jason Hale, he is an American actor, director and instructor, born in 1971. It can be said that he is most interested in Tenessee Williams plays as he directed The Glass Menagerie by him at the National Turkish State Theatre, which gained Best Actress Award from the Ankara Arts Council and Best Theatre Artist of the Year Award from the Baykal Saran Theatre Award. He still teaches at Bilkent University.

The performance was at the Bilkent Chamber Theatre which is a small one and the audience were just in front of the stage, without any distance between the performance and them. As the plays were one-act plays, there was no change in the atmosphere during the play. The audience was seated as in the ancient theatres and arenas. So, the stage was visible, and being a small room, the auditorium was sincere with wooden chairs.

            The plays were This Property is Condemned and Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen. The former is about two characters, one girl and one boy, living in a town in Mississippi in the 30s. The girl is named Willie. She meets a boy Tom having skipped school that day. The setting is in the railroad where they meet. We get an insight into Willie’s life and inner world. She lives alone as her sister, also whose clothes Willie now wears, the only relative of hers, has died. Tom looks at her with curious eyes and sometimes gets closer to her, even touching her, helping her walk on the rails. They talk about their mutual friend Frank Waters who occasionally visits Willie. She reflects her loneliness in her melancholic way of talking, sometimes at intervals. After talking about the mutual friend and the life of Willie, she walks away from the scene and the play ends. The mood is depressing and melancholic as we are informed about the weary life of Willie though it is a hot summer day. The play makes its route through dialogues. It is mostly related to their situation and there is the theme of loneliness (i.e., of Willie). The climax or the catharsis of the play is when Willie talks about her life and recalls Frank Waters while at the same time they hear the train coming. The audience are observers only, not intervening in the play. Lastly, the play is realistic as there is a possible situation and events without anything mysterious; it is expressionistic and impressionistic as it reveals the inner life of Willie as if a kind of theatrical stream of consciousness.

            As for Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen,  the spectators see a man who has just woken up and tries to know where he has been and a woman who sits by the bed. The time is in the 50s on a hot rainy day. The setting is the bedroom. They talk about one by one like a dialogue but they do not listen to each other: while the man speaks, the woman looks deeply at the outside and while the woman speaks, the man sleeps. So, it can be seen that it is based on monologues. Again, in this play, there is a melancholic atmosphere with insights into the characters’ minds. The play goes slowly and calmly in contrast to the fire in the hearts of the characters. The peak point is when the woman speaks loudly and is hugged by the man as if they are about to make love and then the woman says that she wants to leave that place, and while it rains cats and dogs. The possible theme, I think, is that women are seen as slaves, concluding from the fact that she hesitates to say she wants to go out and abandon that place. As it is in the same stage and the same theatre, it is parallel with This Property is Condemned and the audience’s role does not change. Another parallel feature is that the play is realist as it is a real-life situation, and expressionistic and impressionistic as it too indicates the inner worlds of the characters and their moods, feelings.

            The production was intelligently-weaved like the settings which fit the situations and the dialogues, and the music, especially blues tunes in the former and rain sound in the latter play made them more affective and more expressionistic. As they are one-act play, the setting did not change while the mood went up and down with the ups-and-downs of the dialogues or speeches.
            In the first play, the banana Willie was holding got my attention and later on, when she shared it with Tom, I understood that this way they got to know each other well through creating fondness and warmness in their hearts, which makes the play smartly designed with cause-and-effect logic. And that the girl was wearing a heavy make-up attracted my attention but I afterwards realized that it was a way of showing that she could handle anything on her own like an adult. On the other hand, there were logical mistakes in Let Me Talk Like the Rain and Let Me Listen such as the luggages under the bed though the man did not clearly remember where he was (but before this, it was assumed that they were in a relationship) and had scars on his chest and it seemed to be a one-night stand. There were no other amazing / disappointing elements except for the play itself.
            Ultimately, during the play, there was not much to react to as it was in a calm atmosphere. The audience sat silently and watched the plays. Also, I believe the audience did not know much about the content of the performances and the messages because they were surprised when the plays ended without resolution and any relation between each other. They could not know if it was a break or the end of the play. This surprised expression on their faces was obvious. After all, I enjoyed the performances with my friends and left the theatre satisfied with the actors’ effort.

                                                                                                  İsmail Kaygısız, ELIT III


Analysis of Macbeth Staged by Ankara State Theatre

Macbeth, one of the masterpieces of William Shakespeare, was played at Cüneyt Gökçer Auditorium in Çayyolu, Ankara on 6th March, 2014. Shakespeare was considered as the most talented playwright in his own era and among many tragedies which were written by him, Macbeth is one of the most famous ones. The success of Shakespeare and his tragedy Macbeth are still obvious since the theatre was full with audience who were attracted to see that famous tragedy. Orhan Burian, who translated Othello and Hamlet as well, was the translator of the play while Bozkurt Kuruç was the director who has directed many important plays such as Oedipus, Sherlock Holmes, and Blood Wedding so far. Sinan Pekinton was sharing the leading roles with İpek Çeçen: He was representing King Macbeth while Çeçen was his wife, Lady Macbeth. The three witches were represented by Ferahnur Barut, Füsun Akay, Yaprak Selin Onat. Other important characters were: Duncan represented by Mehmet Gökçer; Banquo represented by İsmet Numanoğlu, Macduff represented by Tolga Tekin and Malcolm represented by İrfan Kılınç. The splendid acting of the actors and actresses combined with the facilities of newly-built Cüneyt Gökçer Auditorium, therefore watching the play became much more delighting. The play started with a blue lightning effect and an intense smoke in the middle of the stage where the witches gathered to cast a spell upon Macbeth around their cauldron. It was quite an exciting start when the facilities of a theatre were considered. In addition, although I was sitting in the rear row of seats in the circle, I was able to clearly see the stage and hear the lines of the performers thanks to the seating plan. Stage design was changed for a couple of times; however that process happened pretty quickly so that the audience were not distracted from the play.

The tragedy Macbeth is basically about a king who interferes with his fate due to being overwhelmed by his ambitions through his wife’s provocation. When three witches predict that Macbeth will eventually become the king one day, he decides to kill the present king Duncan by making a murdering plan with his wife. They smear the blood of Duncan on the guards so that they could put the blame on them. Their plan works and the crown passes to Macbeth. However, the murders continue and Macbeth kills anyone who stands in his way, including his ally Banquo. Finally, Macbeth starts to see ghosts and his wife becomes a noctambulist talking about her bloody hands in her sleep and commits suicide. Macduff gathers his allies to take revenge from Macbeth who kills his family and claims his lands. He makes a clever plan and the soldiers hiding behind the tree branches gradually approach to Macbeth’s castle. The “walking forest” is a prophecy of three witches too, and Macbeth is defeated by Macduff with his head stuck in Macduff’s sword. The mood was tense, sinister and murky due to the murders, witches and ghosts until the last scene when Macbeth is killed by Macduff and his doing the justice was celebrated effusively by the crowd. The peak points of the play were the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth’s talking in her sleep in front of the priest and Macbeth’s seeing ghosts in front of the guests. Those scenes aroused curiosity since King and Lady Macbeth could be suspected or caught for their murder. The main idea and the message to be delivered in the play is that over-ambition is destructive. Power corrupts Macbeth who is actually a good-hearted man and he destructs both himself and his wife who initially encourages him for evil. Finally, in style, the play was Brechtian since there was an apparent distance between the actors and their characters. Every character was delivering their specific characteristics, gestures or expressions, so the audience were led to think critically and interpret those aspects. For instance, Lady Macbeth was repeatedly using some gestures such as touching Macbeth’s shoulders or leaning her head on his chest while she was trying to convince him to do evil. King Macbeth, on the other hand, was trying to stay out of her and seemed to be lost in thoughts at those moments. This indicates that Macbeth has a conscientious side and he contradicts between choosing good or evil, however his wife is rather manipulative and she twists Macbeth’s mind by using some uplifting expressions as well as her body language.

The production including the lighting, music, sound effects, costumes, make up, and stage design was another factor which made the play successful. The costumes were quite realistic since they were successfully reflecting the upper class of 17th century. The armours and swords which are used in duel scenes made the play realistic, too. The very white night dress which is put on by Lady Macbeth when she was sleepwalking was reflecting the tragedy by making her look like a ghost. This dress was probably representing Lady Macbeth’s becoming an insensitive and soulless woman just like a ghost. In the last scene of the play, Macbeth’s head was stuck into Macduff’s sword. The head was a successfully mummified version of Sinan Pekinton’s head and it indicated that the play was arranged down to the last detail. The three witches’ ugly make-up, fluffy and grey wigs, ragged and dirty clothes attracted the attention of the audience as well as the ghosts’ white and scary make-up. The blood on Macbeth and his wife’s hands made the play realistic, too. The lightning sound for the witches’ scene and the epic music for the war and kingship scenes were appropriate. A bright light was following the ghosts while they were walking through the stage and this provided the audience to identify with Macbeth since he was the only one in the crowd who saw the ghosts and got mad. Stage design was mostly fine, however the figurant soldiers could have been more in number since the stage was huge and they seemed inadequate in the war scenes.

General reaction of the audience towards the play was positive since the actors and actresses were applauded loudly at the end of the play. I witnessed that many people bought the booklet about the play which is sold in the theatre and they were eager to see the play. During the break, I heard several people saying that they were amazed by İpek Çeçen’s (Lady Macbeth) performance. I should agree that she was the most successful performer of the play since she could featly deliver the messages of the play through her gestures, mimics and tone of voice. Although she was an evil character of the play, she managed to gain sympathy of the audience due to her successful acting. The witches constructed the most entertaining part of the play since their appearance and voice made the audience laugh. They were squawking some absurd ballads all together and dancing around their cauldron, so they did not allow the audience to distract from the play. The epic last scene with Macduff holding Macbeth’s head cheered and excited the audience, so most of the audience must have believed that the justice had been done. The play sometimes became stable and I felt that the audience were getting bored; however, the unexpected ghost scenes made the audience become engrossed in the play again. I especially liked the performances of İpek Çeçen and Sinan Pekinton since they acted without forgetting any lines and they were able to reflect their feeling to the audience. I was able to appreciate Macbeth’s tension and Lady Macbeth’s ambition in the murder scenes as well as I appreciated Macduff’s pain and reason to declare war on Macbeth. As a whole, Shakespeare’s peerless tragedy Macbeth was staged quite successfully thanks to the director, translator, performers and the production and I left the auditorium very pleased. 

                                                                                                          Ceren Halıcı ELIT II