City Theaters’ costumes awaiting new museum
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyThe special accessories and costumes that have been used in the plays of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) City Theaters for more than a century are currently waiting to be displayed at long-planned new museum. The costume storage of the City Theaters is home to more than 100,000 props and costumes from hundreds of plays staged throughout its storied history.
Ottoman-era knives, original Ottoman police station emblems, a sherbet seller’s kettle, a Karagöz shadow play set, specially-made French heaters, a church bell from 1906, and costumes that were used in unforgettable plays are among the many objects currently being kept in a special room in storage - awaiting the new museum.
City Theaters Accessories Chief Özkan Balsoy said when a play was removed from the repertoire its costumes and props were always kept under protection in storage, right back to the first plays performed.
“The objects and costumes of some plays such as ‘Lüküs Hayat’ [Luxurious Life] and ‘Sersem Kocanın Kurnaz Karısı’ [The Shrewd Wife of a Silly Husband] are kept in a special area,” Balsoy said.
“From 1914 to this year, when we are celebrating the 100th year, we can estimate that the costumes and props of more than 2,000 plays are being kept in the depot. There are also many objects. The City Theaters never throws out anything, but keeps them because they may be needed in other plays. The number of these objects is between 100,000-150,000,” he added.
“The objects here are not given to plays without the decision of the administration. Let’s say that we need an Ottoman knife for a play. The decorator takes it from here with a debit voucher and the mold of the knife is taken for mass production. Then this object is given back, because this room is home to very special objects. We will have the chance to display them when we open a museum in the future,” Balsoy added.
Costume of 29 years
“We keep the costume worn by Zihni Göktay in ‘Lüküs Hayat’ here. Every piece of the costume is still being kept, even its blue bead. The play was staged for 29 years without stopping, and Göktay was the only actor who always stayed in the play for the whole 29 years. The play held its premiere on March 6, 1985, but eventually we had to remove it from our repertoire in 2014 because of Göktay’s health problems. We still keep the vest, shirt, belt and trousers worn by him in the play,” he said.
Balsoy said other costumes worn by late actress Suna Pekuysal in “Lüküs Hayat” and late actor Savaş Dinçel in “Sersem Kocanın Kurnaz Karısı,” as well as a costume worn by late actress Bedia Muvahhit were being kept behind locked doors.
“These are very precious to us. We do our best to protect them. The construction of a museum is among the plans for the 100th anniversary of the City Theaters. It is our greatest wish to exhibit these costumes in a museum. Efforts are ongoing for this. After establishing the musuem, we will present all of these things to visitors,” he said.