THEATER SEASONS STARTS Istanbul offers numerous options for theatre lovers in the new season; a spectrum ranging from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night that was first staged 414 years ago in February 2, 1604 to Zinnie Harris’ apocalyptic play, produced in 2015, and from Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s Huzur (A Mind at Peace) to Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull.

Şehir Tiyatroları (Istanbul Municipality Theater) and Devlet Tiyatroları (State Theater), both of which constituted the backbone of the Turkish theater for a long time, begin the season with twelve plays each. Apart from the classics like Twelfth Night and The Seagull, it is possible to see Betrayal, written by Harold Pinter, a Nobel laureate and one of the most prominent playwrights of the 20th century, and Twelve Angry Men, the theater adaption of Sidney Lumet’s magnum opus.

In the Devlet Tiyatroları program, one of the plays that stands out is Der Kontrabaß, which has been staged continuously since 1981, written by the German author Patrick Suskind, mostly known for his novel, Perfume. Also, Huzur, adapted from Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s novel of the same name, is worth seeing. Following the story of Mümtaz, a young man searching for peace of mind in the eve of the WWII, Huzur, is a love letter to Istanbul as well, a city Tanpınar loved dearly. 

On the other hand, the independent theater companies continue to put on stage the best examples of contemporary theater. It Felt Empty When the Heart Went At First But It Is Alright Now, which earned Esra Bezen Bilgin two Best Actress awards in 2012, after her stunning performance, is put on stage by Talimhane Tiyatrosu.

Pera’nın Zamanı (The Time of Pera), one of the most anticipated plays of the season, employs the new potentials of the theater all the way to the end. Staged by Altıdan Sonra Tiyatro, this interactive play takes the audience to a time travel by using the rooms and ball room of the Pera Palace Hotel as a stage.