Turkish musical classic reinterpreted
ISTANBUL - Anadolu AgencyClassic Turkish musical “Lüküs Hayat” (Luxurious Life), which mocks some of the absurdities confronted by the Turkish public in their introduction to Western culture, will be on stage at Istanbul’s Zorlu Center on Feb. 6, 7 and 8, with a performance by the Eskişehir Municipality City Theaters.
Theater actor Haldun Dormen, the director of the musical, described “Lüküs Hayat” as an “immortal musical classic.” The story was written by Ekrem Reşit Rey and its music was composed by Cemal Reşit Rey. It had its first performance in 1933.
“I have made some changes, rewriting some of it. It was a three-act musical, but I have made it two acts because nobody has the patience for three-act plays these days. I also completely changed the old expressions. There were some nonsense words in the old version but I have removed all of them. The play was written in 1933, and these expressions were acceptable at that time but not now,” Dormen said.
However, he also stressed that he did not want big differences in décor and costumes so did not change them.
“I wanted it to be set in the 1930s. There is something different in the costumes and materials of the 1930s. I wanted to keep it like that,” he said.
A staff of 30-35 people have worked on this latest production, along with the Eskişehir Symphony Orchestra.
Dormen said he was very pleased that “Lüküs Hayat” would meet Istanbul audiences once again after a two years hiatus.
“Zorlu Center PSM presents the world musicals. It makes me very happy that among all of them, it will presented ‘Lüküs Hayat’ directed by me. I will be behind the stage throughout the performances,” he added.
He said he first heard about the musical, which was first staged in 1933 on the 10th anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic, from a guest in their house when he was a child.
Dormen also produced a TV version of “Lüküs Hayat” on the 50th anniversary of the republic, when he was still an inexperienced director.
“I did not have any television experience. I shot it in the garden of a house in Istanbul’s Çiftehavuzlar neighborhood over just four days. But I did not work on the mounting and it was bad. It included actors like Ali Poyrazoğlu, Münir Özkul, Füsun Önal, İsmet Ay and Suna Selen,” he said.
“Lüküs Hayat” centers around the absurdities experienced by Rıza and Tevfık, two men who come from the slums who get by through petty theft, before somehow finding themselves in an extravagant mansion, in an environment totally foreign to them.
Dormen said “Lüküs Hayat” had played a hugely important role throughout his life. “I think someone whispered in my ear when I was born, saying ‘Lüküs Hayat,’” he added.
Meanwhile, Zorlu Center PSM General Director Ray Cullom said they had a mission to bring the world’s best productions and the best artists to Istanbul, and this musical was always being demanded by the public.
“I am very pleased that we will finally see ‘Lüküs Hayat’ on our stage. Tickets are on sale and attracting great interest. Turkish people love this musical a lot and I am sure that I will love it too,” Cullom said.