A tragicomic urban funeral on stage

Theater season usually comes to a close at the end of May and few theaters are still open in early June. However, most people work during summer and they still need theater.
Most of us are aware of the Turkish stateand’s weak cultural policies and the regular financial dilemmas that indie companies face. Alternative and indie companies need to work during the summer otherwise, they spend the remaining nine months trying to compensate for the three-month-long off-season and strive simply to keep their theater open.
With this in mind, ikinci Kat in Istanbul came up with a new project last summer called and”Plays of Tomorrowand” which will continue this summer.
The company chooses four themes, four playwrights, four directors and a small cast from which draw and arbitrarily form casts and crews. This process gives rise to four different plays which all premiere in July. So, ikinci Kat stays open during summer, and some of the plays run all year.
In last yearand’s draw, writer-actor Firuze Engin, from Tiyatro Berezeand’s and”Women with Red Shoes,and” and Berfin Zenderlioilu, director of Destarand’s and”Disko No: 5,and” paired with actors ibrahim Halaandcoilu and Tolga iskit. iskit was later replaced by Seda Tandurkmen. The theme was and”transformation,and” and Engin wrote a play about urban transformation called and”Cambazin Cenazesiand” (The Acrobatand’s Funeral).
The play starts with the death of and”Acrobat,and” an 80-year-old man whose real name is Rasim. He battled the angel of death several times and came back, hence the nickname. Rumor has it that he encountered Atatandurk in his childhood and because Acrobatand’s face resembled ismet inandOnandu, Acrobat got the second name, ismet. Acrobat lives in the town of Yapildak, where he fights against gentrification he even makes people swear not to sell their land. In one part of Yapildak, the new elite city VefakandOy starts to rise. The very idea of change starts to confuse people, including Acrobatand’s large family.
The play illustrates the transformation of the city alongside the transformation of peopleand’s attitudes in a very witty and critical way. Donand’t think this is a boring play itand’s actually quite an entertaining satire. Engin is skilled at capturing the delicate details of characters as a writer, and Zenderlioilu is a good director for witty political plays. She broadens the space and limits of her cast and sets the pace of the play by changing the styles at exactly the right moment.
The combination of both indie and traditional approaches, using the decors of traditional shadow theater, works well and gives a chance for both the cast and the audience to take a breath in between lines delivered at full speed by two actors who portray several characters each. Halaandcoilu and Tandurkmen sometimes take on the role of narrators and sometimes they become part of the audience when they laugh at each other outside of their characters. The acting, energy and the chemistry on the stage is all quite brilliant.
Urban transformation does transform people it divides them into camps. Rumors spread and society starts to fall apart but life goes on. In the play, Acrobatand’s kids lie about the changing mind of their late father. Even his last will is ignored: He wants to be buried in his garden under a tree but his kids make him sign a document, on his deathbed, which allows for the sale of the house and garden. If they were to then bury him in the garden, during construction, his body would be in pieces. Urban transformation destroys our past, present and future. and”Cambazin Cenazesiand” presents a tragicomic look at this sad truth.
The playand’s next performance is on May 19 at ikinci Kat. http:ikincikat.orgoyunyarininoyunlari1-cambazin-cenazesi

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman