The curse of Macbeth

The curse of Macbeth

Turkey’s State Theaters (DT) have excluded Shakespeare’s well-known play “Macbeth” from their November program. The play was directed by Bozkurt Kuruç, who was general manager of the institution between 1989 and 1998. In statements issued by the DT, it said the decision was reached because an actor was sick and/or a problem with the play’s set. (Let me make it clearer: Shakespeare’s play “Cymbeline” is set to premiere on Nov. 18. The Çayyolu Cüneyt Gökçer Theater was the site of rehearsals of this play, but because of the size, weight, and difficulty of the sets required for both plays, “Macbeth” was removed from the repertory.)  

Both statements may be true. We hope the institution soon solves the problems with sharing the stage and also that the sick actor gets well soon.

However, when this news hit the media, all hell broke loose. It was rumored that the passage introducing the play on the official DT website (“Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, as they ascend the ladder of power with cruel steps, are at the same time preparing their own end…”) made certain people uncomfortable, and thus the decision was made. I should point out that this sentence is still on the website, it has not been removed or changed, which we can interpret as meaning that it does not make anybody uncomfortable. Good.

Well, are there any other disturbances? To be able to understand the situation, Selda Güneysu reported in daily Cumhuriyet that a delegation from the Culture Ministry left the theater without applauding after watching the play. In addition, because three previous recordings had been infected with viruses, the play was re-recorded for DVD. It’s like the script to a black thriller.

I think we need simple and clear explanations to avoid people acting like ideological guardians in the culture neighborhood.

DT officials know only too well that the solution to such complicated issues lies in transparency. It should not be difficult to issue a statement that everybody can understand and will not generate rumors. Otherwise, questions simply follow questions.  

Look at how good-natured and calm we are asking our questions as ordinary theater goers, without exaggerating, without being caught in any wind. The questions are clear: Why exactly was Macbeth removed from November’s program? The set issue, did it only come up at the beginning of this month? Which one of the actors suffered the health problem that caused the cancelation?

I am pretty sure a nice and clear statement will be made. In turn, I would then apologize for my ambiguous sentences in this piece. No problem. What if the “curse of Macbeth” that the theater community knows very well strikes me? Well, it is worth it. What is important is that Shakespeare’s unparalleled play meets its audience. The rest is just chatter.  

Meanwhile, let me remind you that there are many cinema, television and theater adaptations of Macbeth and they are all easily accessible. For those who have not seen it yet, this is a beautiful journey.