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.