A Turkish Macbeth

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a York International Shakespeare Festival production

Monday April 22, 7:30pm with an introduction event at 6:30pm

Theatre 1, York St John University

European Reading in Performance (TURKEY)

Ümit Kıvanç: Macbeth: An Attempt to Adapt to our Political Landscape (1991)

Ümit Kıvanç was born in 1956 in Istanbul, Turkey. Son of a famous Turkish journalist, Halit Kıvanç, he pursued his father’s path in journalism, and he became a writer for the Turkish dailies Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal. He continues writing for the journals Birikim and Gazete Duvar. Since 1989, Kıvanç published novels, short stories and plays, among which is Macbeth: Muhitimize Uyarlama Denemesi (1991). In addition to being a journalist and a writer, Kıvanç is also a short film and documentary maker, with his most famous works including Nazê (2016), Ah, Asuman! (2019), and Hafiza yetersiz: Hrant için bir film (2022).

Kıvanç’s deep preoccupation with Turkish cultural, social and political concerns emerges in all aspects of his creations. His focus on Macbeth divulges his outlook, especially noticeable in the subtitle of his play: “An Adaptation Attempt [of Macbeth] to Our Political Landscape”. Though never performed, and ignored by academia and theatre to the present, Kıvanç’s play surprises by the radical reworking in which he targets the media, the political elite, and the Turkish Military Forces. With a delightful sense of humour, Kıvanç approaches the gruesome aspects of Turkish life of the 1980s, and he insists that his adaptation is “alla turca”, scandalous “in a Turkish manner”, as his Macbeth offers a critique of the mayhem produced by Turkish journalism and deep political schisms, which led to the military coup in 1980.

Kıvanç bewilders his audience with a very fresh rewriting of the witches, whose supernatural powers spread over media, with a Macbeth who “murders” Duncan by fabricating facts which are “magically” published by press, with a political elite ambitious for power, but mostly with General Hecate and the military forces, who, instead of being “guardians of the Republic”, stomp over all its principles and national identity. 

We are delighted to give this first staged reading of the play in English, featuring actors from York, directed by Filiz Ozcan.

The reading will be preceded by an introduction from Tatiana Golban in conversation with Professor Nicoleta Cinpoes which is free to attend.

Tickets £5 all tickets – bookings through the link below

We want to make it possible for as many members of the community to come to festival performances, so please consider buying a Pass it On Ticket which we can offer to community members who may not otherwise be able to attend.

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