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MELEK, by Rüstem Ertuğ Altınay, directed by Jale Karabekir at Sahne Cihangir. Photo Ali Güler.
Articles, Essays, Volume 3

A Feminist Tuberculosis Melodrama: Melek By Theatre Painted Bird

A Feminist Tuberculosis Melodrama:
Melek By Theatre Painted Bird
By Emre Erdem
Arab Stages, Volume 2, Number 1 (Fall 2015)
©2015 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications

Founded in 2000 by Jale Karabekir and Zeynep Kaçar, Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş (Theatre Painted Bird) is a pioneer feminist theatre and performance company based in Turkey. The group is primarily known for their deconstructive and feminist interpretations of plays from the Turkish and Western European canons, as well as their involvement in activities related to the ‘theatre of the oppressed’. The group’s productions include Nora/Nure, a Kurdish adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which won the Ibsen Scholarship Award in 2009, and August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, which was Turkey’s official event for commemorating the Strindberg Year in 2012.

The company’s latest production was Melek by Rüstem Ertuğ Altınay. Directed by the company’s artistic director Jale Karabekir, the play premiered in Sahne Cihangir in September 2013 and was last staged in December 2014. Melek is loosely based on the memoirs of tuberculosis-afflicted actor Melek Kobra (1915-1939), published by Gökhan Akçura in 2006. The single-actor play uses Kobra’s story as a vantage point from which to explore the politics of gender and performance in the formative years of the Republic of Turkey.

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