Mar. 6th, 2016

rymenhild: A small toddler puppet carrying a bright red letter. (Uzura has a LETTER)
I subscribed to the New Yorker recently, as I'd been running out of free accesses regularly and the introductory subscription price was ridiculously cheap with a .edu email address. One of the advantages (or disadvantages, depending on how much work I should be doing instead of reading articles) is that the New Yorker sends me emails with links to particularly interesting articles in their archives.

Stage Mothers by Elif Batuman (December 2012) may be the best thing I've read all year, and I just want to talk about it with all of you. Ümmiye Koçak, a peasant woman from Southern Turkey with a middle-school education, saw a school play for the first time when she was in her forties:

Ümmiye had never seen a play before, and it seeped into her thoughts. For a long time, she had been puzzling over the situation of village women—the many roles they had to play. In the fields, they worked like men; in villas, they became housekeepers; at home, they were wives and mothers. "I kept turning it over in my head, how is it that I do all these things," she later recalled. "Then I saw Hüseyin’s theatre. That’s when I decided that the thing I’d been turning over in my head was theatre."

So, naturally, Ümmiye founded a theater group made up entirely of village women, and put on plays about marriage and poverty and domestic abuse inspired by the actors' lives, and performed these plays in front of the village. Then she founded another theater group. She went to Cannes with a documentary about one play. She adapted Hamlet for a Turkish audience, and put on a goatskin mustache so she could be Hamlet herself. I mean, naturally, right?

Batuman's article itself is a magnificent work about what it takes to make art, and the way art comes out of struggle.

Anyway, read the article yourself and then come talk to me about it. You won't regret it.


rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

January 2017


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