Prince Hamlet becomes Prince Hamit
MERSİN - Anatolia News Agency | 7/19/2009 12:00:00 AM |
The women of a village in the southern city of Mersin are preparing to stage Shakespeare's famous play 'Hamlet,' working in the fields as they rehearse for their performance. Lacking a real stage, they content themselves with a small stage in the backyard of an elementary school
The Arslanköy Women's Theater Company, founded in the southern city of Mersin's Arslanköy district in 2001, is preparing to perform three acts of William Shakespeare's famous play “Hamlet.”
Some 60 kilometers away from Mersin’s center, Arslanköy lies in the Toros (Taurus) Mountains at an altitude of 1,453 meters. The women of the village are both working in the fields and rehearsing for their play. They have not been very lucky in terms of costume because all they could find were traditional flat-heeled shoes and old clothes. Nor do they have a real stage to practice on. So they must be content with the small stage, which is in the backyard of an elementary school.
Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, playwright Ümmiye Koçak said the theater company had been working for eight years and many plays she had written were put on stage.
Having decided to perform a different play this year, Koçak started to write a three-act play that was originally based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Koçak said Duygu Koçak, Gülsüm Şahin, Seher Dağdur, Hatice Dağdur, Ayşegül Şahin and İlkim Kiraz, all villagers ages 18-22, would act in the play.
[HH] Hamlet becomes Hamit, Horatio becomes Hurşit
Koçak said that when the script was done, she realized that it was hard for the women to remember the character names, which were not Turkish. “I thought of a solution and realized that the best thing to do was to change the names in a way that would be easier for the women to remember,” said Koçak.
“So I decided to call Prince Hamlet, Hamit. Horatio became Hurşit; Ophelia became Feraye, and Polonius, Şahin. In this way, they started to memorize the text more easily. We also have a dialogue between Hamlet and the queen performed in English. Our aim in doing this was to show that everyone, even a villager, can speak English if they really want to,” she said. The actresses memorized the text while working in the fields for three months, Koçak added.
After some progress, they decided to use the stage of the school, where the backstage does not have a door. But they did not give up despite all the hardships they had to cope with.
[HH] Difficulty in finding costumes, material
“The most difficult part was to find the necessary costumes and material for the play,” Koçak said. “We had to do everything on our own. The queen’s costume was made of traditional printed calico; male characters wear baggy trousers and traditional hats. The crowns are made of cardboard and the skulls are carved of pumpkins. We use eyeliner to draw moustaches on the faces of male characters.” Adding that they need sponsors to go on with their performances, Koçak stated that they could perform anywhere they go if the theater company is given enough support.