The performances in Istanbul have come to an end and now, following a week of on/off travel, I am residing in Falmouth town. The troupe are scattered across the UK but we will be reuniting in a couple of days to continue our performances here, and then in Bristol and Cardiff.
Ben Geldim, Gidiyorum, meaning I’m coming and now I’m going, has been well received in Turkey and has been seen as a humourous but acute reflection of the Istanbul experience. As a performance it has touched audiences who are native to the city as well as those people who were passing through. Local people found the performance to be an accurate representation of the cities intense bustle and empathise with the frustrations resulting from this. Tourists and passers through found that the representation of the arduous sexual tensions (usually manifested in harassment) to be found in the city was not only appropriately acknowledged but was presented in a fun way.
The performance has tried to appropriate the serious social reality in a concise and entertaining way. The mix of film and performance has been effective in putting across the actual situation to be found in Istanbul but has avoided being condescending or judgemental by only choosing to represent it as a feature of the story being told. Audiences know their own mind; This production is only asking people to consider their experiences again.
The story is about two Western women who are in different circumstances both of whom are experiencing life in Istanbul. One is a tourist and is simply passing through, the other is married to an educated Turkish man and is living in Turkey. The story is told from the perspective of the artists who have been living, experiencing, and researching life in Istanbul. Drawing upon personal experience and sampling material from the real world, the final production is an amalgam of stylised material, fact and fiction, realist and surreal, dramatic and conceptual. This is at times difficult to follow as the audience is presented with layered material, multiple lines of thought, a confusion of subjective and objective thinking. The audience is given a choice to enjoy an entertaining visual show or to delve into the content in order to develop their own critical reflection on what is being presented.
Before I left Istanbul I asked the protagonists of the Chasing the Green Man theater company a few questions about their time there and how they had worked their reflections into the production that they had made. The resulting interview was edited together and is presented in a simple multi-screen layout with the accelerated documentation of the development and work process underlying the interview.