© Pieter Huybrechts
1. CURATING SPACE by Erki De Vries, Pieter Huybrechts en Kris Delacourt had its first residency at //NEAR EAST// gallery, Istanbul.
A reflexion by Marnix Rummens on this first residency period and the tryout can be found here.
Curating Space is sustained by the EMWAP project and funded by the European Culture programme and will eventually be presented at the EMWAP festival in March/April 2015 in Istanbul (see http://emwap.eu/collaboration/news)
2. BETRAYAL by Harold Pinter and directed by Mesut Arslan was shown in the Istanbul Theater Festival in Moda Sahnesi.
A critical reflection When Theatre Turns into an idea…by Zeynep Aksoy in RADIKAL newspaper, Istanbul, 17/05/2014.
Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” is the third Mesut Arslan - directed play that I have watched and I think I now understand his concerns and interests on a deeper level.
In the three plays I have seen, which, by the way, were very different from each other in many aspects, the empty spaces, constrictions, congestions, meanings and the meaninglessness of human relationships are mirrored by the manipulation of the theatre space, the rethinking of the space of action and the space of the audience.
There is a sense that, with a helping hand of dramaturge Ata Ünal, the deepest, rawest and the
most basic point of a text is reached and mostly
the lack of relationship within relationships is examined.
“Betrayal” is the most “signature” work of Arslan, one that explains his idea of theatre in a very direct and see-through way with its method and concept.
In Pinter’s Betrayal, Emma of the couple Robert-Emma and Jerry, Robert’s best friend who himself is married, have a 7 year affair. It’s a very strong contemporary classic with its reverse chronology and sparse dialogue. Arslan and his team go to the most basic structure of the play and cleanse it from any possibility of artificiality by focusing on the feelings and the sometimes meaninglessness of them.
The locus is on the characters, dialogue and action. There are 3 constructions of big, half-transparent, moving white wall within the theater space. Actors and the audience walk freely within this space, which, incidentally, also reminds one of the art gallery Emma works in. It feels like visiting an exhibition.
When you think of the moving walls as an installation, this is also quite appropriate. As the characters metaphorically “open up” and “close” to each other, the walls also physically close and open onto the actors and the audience in different angles, creating various shapes.
Thus, the space, the installation, the actor and the spectator are included in the action of the play very organically through mechanical means. When Jerry speaks his lines while hugging a member of the audience, Emma listens and replies while lying on the lap of another spectator. In that way, the boundaries of the space, the watcher and the watched is re-created, re-drawn, re-read and re-written.
This might not be obvious at first sight, but Arslan’s “Betrayal” is actually very loyal to Pinter’s text. It represents and answers some of the questions that lie buried deep within the heart of the text plainly.
Arslan’s interpretation presents creative clues about how theatre should also have a place somewhere as an “idea”, and that it has a chance of transcending itself and stray further from the ordinary the more it does so.
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