Turkish Theatre's search for its own voice in translation...

DOI : https://doi.org/10.32739/uha.id.44793

Üsküdar University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of English Translation and Interpreting organized an event titled "Turkish Theater's Search for Its Own Voice Through Translation" as part of the 'World Theatre Day' activities. At the event, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of English Translation and Interpreting Asst. Prof. Başak Ergil conveyed the story of Turkish theater finding its own voice to the students with examples.

The event, which was moderated by Assoc. Prof. Feride Zeynep Güder, was held at Üsküdar University South Campus Socrates Hall.

Asst. Prof. Başak Ergil talked about the adventure of Türkiye's traditional theater culture in search of its own voice in the event, where the process of creating a written theater culture in Türkiye by translating Western and written dramatic texts from the Westernization movements of the Tanzimat Period to the late Republican Period was examined.

Ergil pointed out that translation is a very valuable ground for the blending of traditional performative motifs and written dramatic literature. In this context, the plays staged by the translator/theater person Ferhan Şensoy, the founder of Ortaoyuncular, and Tiyatrotem, the company founded by Ayşe Selen and Şehsuvar Aktaş, based on contemporary and classical works of world literature, were examined.

"The culture of humor is very developed in Turks"

Pointing out that the element of humor and comedy has developed a lot in Turks, Başak Ergil stated that "Within the framework of westernization, we took many types of written texts from the west, especially in the Tanzimat period. We had to imitate them as well. So, what happened to our own voice, our own culture? When you borrow something, it does not suit you well, and you know that it may be necessary to adapt it to the culture. It may be necessary to reconcile yourself with your own core values in some way. So, what did we get all this stuff and what happened? Have we been able to make our own voices heard? Have we been able to do something of our own? The culture in the lands we live in is actually based on the verbal and performative tradition, the tradition of improvisation. Before our written culture, we had verbal culture. I would like to talk about the traditional Turkish Theater. What were the characteristics of traditional Turkish theater? There are games such as puppets, meddah (public storyteller), Karagöz-Hacivat, orta oyunu (traditional improvised theatre), theatrical village plays. These are all performance-based things that are done without a written text. When we look at its main features, there is comedy, so humor is very developed in us today. The culture of humor is developed in the Turks because it is a traditional thing, and we have an element of humor and comedy. We have exaggerated types, and costumes stand out more than makeup. It is passed on to the next generation through the master-apprentice relationship."

"Turkish people later step in Turkish Theater"

Underlining that there is a lot of cultural elements due to the fact that İstanbul is a trade center, Ergil expressed that "The Ottoman Empire is a very beautiful background, and it has a cosmopolitan and multicultural background. Since İstanbul is a commercial center and there are many people coming and going, all kinds of cultural elements come to İstanbul. Why did I say Türkiye Theater instead of Turkish Theater because Turkish Theater does not start with Turks, it starts with Armenians. The Armenians in the Tanzimat are not even Turkish. The translations comes much later, and it is not something we do because we are Muslims and we are used to street theater, so we do not have the translation and staging of dramatic texts on the stage, so that's why I said Türkiye because Turks come into play later in Turkish theater."

Asst. Prof. Başak Ergil examined the performances of Ferhan Şensoy and Ortaoyuncular, who interpreted the Threepenny Opera, which is a Bertolt Brecht translation of John Gay's The Threepenny Opera, into Turkish under the title of The Threepenny Opera in terms of translation and rewriting strategies.

Then, Alfred Jarry's theater texts King Ubu and Chained Ubu were examined under the titles of Alem Buysa Kral Übü and Gündüz Intention (If That’s the World, King is Übü and For the Intention of Daytime), and the performances of Tiyatrotem, which translated and brought to the stage by integrating the curtain of imagination. Traditions such as puppetry, shadow play and narrative in our traditional theater were traced in these translations.

The event ended after the questions were answered.



Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)