Sahika Tekand’s Oedipus is searching for ‘the truth itself’

Director Sahika Tekand talked to Kathimerini English Edition about how she works and her production of «Oedipus in Exile.» How did you rehearse this extraordinary performance where everything’s happening at the same time – lights, music, protagonists, chorus? I always design a game from the text of the play. First we try to design the order and the rules of the game; it brings its own space, and circumstances. Then we rehearse it as a theater play. The lights and actors are the space, the tools of our game, but at the same time it’s a tragic play. Where did your interest in the game concept come from? Game as a concept is really important to me because it’s the border between life and game makes art art. If we move the border between them, we lose art. In the past 30 years, the world has lost the border between life and game. The game is no longer a game if you lose the border between life and game. It’s tragic. For me the game concept is not only a practical method; it’s an approach to life. You talked about prejudice at the press conference. We don’t know anything clearly anymore, because we learn everything from the media, which gives us very little information. We don’t know what’s happening in the world. We don’t discuss things any more, and this increases prejudice. It makes it difficult to understand each other, to understand different parts of the world and individuals. Oedipus struggles against prejudice – in my play, not in the original. Do you want the play to make people see things differently? We have a word in the text – «Dusun!» – which means «Think about it!» I say it directly from the stage. Will you use the same lighting effects when you direct «Antigone»? No. All the actors except Creon will become Antigone. The rules of the game will depend on the similarity between the actors. They will repeat each other’s lines. It’s a challenge for the actors. They must be truthful and what they do must be repeatable by the other actors. There’s a huge amount of teamwork. What’s that like for the actors? Sometimes it’s very difficult for them – to believe in it, to make it real. What kind of reaction do your plays have in Turkey? It was very well received, because the audience wants to see contemporary things on stage now, and they like it. Your actors speak very fast. I felt the tension… One of today’s speakers said, «It’s not a thriller; what have you done to it?» But it is a thriller, because he struggles with prejudice. Oedipus questions himself, despite the fact that this will lead to his downfall. I inserted questions into the text: When? Why? Where? In the contemporary world anything goes, and we don’t appreciate such questions. «Why?» is the main question of this play. What are the major themes of your version of the play? The truth itself. Searching for the truth itself. The whole game is a discussion about the stranger and the city. When the chorus is in the shadow, it means they doubt what’s happening on stage. I use this effect in this play to look at the difference between ethics and the law. Modern man has lost his principles and moral values.