Guest performance of 51 BITEF 17 in the production of Thalia Theater, Hamburg, Germany.

Ersan Mondtag, a young Berlin director of Turkish origin, is one of the rising stars in the German-speaking theatre. Bitef will show two of his productions, thus offering him what he has not always had before: the broadest possible international visibility, whilst the festival itself will renew and strengthen its original role of bringing together cultures and promoting the most inventive artists in the world. The performance produced by the celebrated Thalia Theater in Hamburg is based on epic material, the novel Snow by the Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk. His lead character and narrator, called Ka (a clear allusion to the main character in The Trial) sets off on an “epic trip” to his fatherland, from Germany to Turkey, where he becomes a participant and a witness to an oneiric web of dramatic, Kafkian events reflecting, at multiple levels, the conflict between the Islamist and secular Turkey. Mondtag uses this material to create an ironic political theatre with elements of trash poetics, cleverly toying with recognisable elements of the Turkish culture, from Dervish dances to the hammam architecture.


In order to write a report on the suicides of young women wearing headscarfs, the poet Ka travels back to the eastern Anatolian town Kars after twelve years of exile in Germany. For three days, it snows non-stop in the town, cutting it off from the outside world. Municipal elections are in progress, marking the victory of the Islamic doctrine. On a theater stage, a quarrel arises during the performance of a didactic play from the AtaTürk era, which condemns the headscarves. Can a woman be forced to take off the headscarf? What weighs more: the reason of a secular state or the personal freedom to exercise religion? The situation escalates as members of an obscure military organization take up the stage during the performance and, led by the actor Sunay Zaim, pretend to have to save the state from the Islamists. The poet Ka undertakes the attempt to uncover the political conspiracy, but gets entangled in the struggle between Turkish and Kurdish nationalists, the army and Islamic fundamentalists. For director Ersan Mondtag, Orhan Pamuk’s Snow is highly explosive and up-to-date. With his novel, written before September 11, 2001, Pamuk wanted to represent the entire Turkey through the small town of Kars. After the attack on the World Trade Center, Pamuk began to understand that the problems of Turkey were the problems of the world. Today, Pamuk’s appeals: “Please make the difference between Islamic society and political Islam! Please make the difference between political Islam and radical fundamentalists! After the attacks such as the one made against Charlie Hebdo, emotions blur the differences. And that is awful!”

Visit: http://festival.bitef.rs/Program/338/SNOW.shtml

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