When an actress’ nightmare becomes the audience’s laughter
ISTANBULHouston of the theater world – or should I say Athens – we have a problem. We are gathered here at the Sekizincikat stage to watch “Sezonun Kabusu” (The Nightmare of the Season / of Sezo), the curtains are up, but our main actress (Sezin Bozacı) doesn’t know the lines.
“Sezo” is supposed to incarnate Miss Julie, the protagonist of August Strindberg’s eponymous play and yet, she is looking at us – I mean the audience – with incredulity. Still in her pajamas, eyes full of sleep, she mumbles and grumbles that she has forgotten all of the script and even genuinely believes that what’s actually happening is just a nightmare.
Thankfully, there is the Tiyatrotem duo, Sezo’s peerless partners in the play, to come to the rescue. The jack incarnating her servant-lover Jean (Şehsuvar Aktaş) and the jane, casted as the cook of the house, Christine (Ayşe Selen), will not allow Sezo to get away with any excuse, so that we can enjoy at least a decent play.
With their pantomime make-up and harlequinades, the sweetly bizarre duo also try to enlighten the audience about what has happened in the play so far, what is supposed to be happening at the moment and what the inexistent setting is about.
So Jean prompts the souffleur, then Christine grabs Sezo’s strings and forces her to act just like a puppeteer and both persevere until a capitulatory Sezo almost reluctantly remembers a few lines.
The mannerism with which the duo incarnates their respective roles of Jean and Christine is also a delight to watch. Jean speaks as much with his hands as his mouth, miming almost everything he utters, while Christine seems a character straight out of the Addams family rather than a humble maid.
There are also some moments of hilarity, particularly when all three pit credentials against each other. “Did you know that I played the main role in Shakespeare’s ‘King Richard III’?” Jean proudly declares. “And I, I earned an award once for my performance, do you have an award?” Christine brags to Sezo.
(We are forced to stress, dear readers, that this is rather a superfluous exercise, as it won’t delude your servitor’s – an author who has written a great deal of critiques, mostly in his mind, but still – sharp observations about their genuine performance.)
Sezo tries vainly resisting against the stubbornness of her partners before finally surrendering and letting them steer her, hoping she will soon wake up from her nightmare.
Sorry for Sezo, but sometimes one person’s nightmare can be the laughter of others, as the evil crowd maliciously enjoys the announced fizzle.
The play will on be staged once more at Sekizincikat on April 24 and at Kumbaracı 50 on April 26. You better hurry before Sezo ends up remembering her lines and getting savvy with memorizing the script.