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Write: Jülide Karahan
Stage and theatre have become a meeting place of the contemporary arts, with performance dominating.
In Turkey as throughout the world, theater is changing its skin. Hardly a day passes but that some new theater opens, to forge a closer communication with audiences in smaller venues and to engage in a freer form of self-expression. Dot, Garajistanbul, Tiyatro Z and Altıdan Sonra (After Six) are just a few of these ventures.
Concentrated in the city’s Beyoğlu district, Istanbul’s alternative theaters go against the grain of mainstream theater to pose new questions and seek new solutions. Their raison d’être is to say what has not been said before, to give free expression to the issues, and to create new possibilities for staging.
Hard-Hitting Theater For Hard Times
Founded jointly by Süha Bilal and Özlem and Murat Daltaban, Tiyatro Dot opened on the 4th floor of the Mısır Apartment building in 2005. Choosing progressively more hard-hitting plays every season, it mercilessly criticizes today’s world. Another private undertaking, Garajistanbul is a joint project of founders Memet Alabora, Erdoğan Kahyaoğlu and Övul and Mustafa Avkıran, who converted a 600-square-meter garage in Galatasaray into an art venue. Garajistanbul’s cavernous empty space hosts everything from dance and theater to musical performances.
Founded in a converted iron foundry six years ago, Tiyatro Z takes up today’s conflicted people by drawing the audience in. Another troupe that encourages audience interaction is Tiyatro Artı (Theater Plus). Employing contemporary staging techniques, this company astonishes audiences with its use of space.
Tiyatro Artı’s new play, ‘Iç İçe’ (Close Quarters) starts with the audience being boarded onto a bus for parts unknown. Confronted with society’s unconscious prejudices throughout the play/journey, in the end the audience is divested of any notion of utopia.