Mar 29 2018

Actresses disinvited from parliamentary performance

The speaker of the Turkish parliament told a theatre company that he did not want to see any women on stage during a memorial performance on the anniversary of Gallipoli, left-wing newspaper Birgün said.

“We were practicing for three days. With one hour to go we were told that women couldn’t be on stage,” the newspaper quoted an actor from the troupe who did not want to be named as saying. “We were unable to hold back our tears.”

The actor added that the request that women not perform had come from parliamentary speaker İsmail Kahraman.

The actresses not allowed on stage were made to wait on a staircase of the building during the performance and were later brought out of the parliament.

One actress left the parliament in tears, and the play only ran for four minutes rather than the expected 12, the newspaper said.

Another actor who also did not want to be named said that the first request from authorities regarding the play had been to cut out choreography in which soldiers leaving their homes hugged their mothers goodbye, as they did not want to see men and women embracing on stage, however innocently.

“We had gone down the stairs in our costumes when we came across İsmail Kahraman,” another actor said. “He said ‘the women actors are not coming out, are they? Well done.’ Then he made a joke to a colleague in a military costume, saying ‘which regiment are you in?’, but no-one laughed.”

An actress lamented that the troupe had not been given enough time to organise an effective protest.

“30 minutes was not long enough to decide on a more effective path,” she said.