"Irk Bitig"

Adapted and Directed by Emre Koyuncuoğlu

Music and Sound Arrangements Çiğdem Borucu 

Spatial Installation and Advisor Nurullah Tuncer

Costume Design Ümit Ünal

Animation and Visual Design Aksel Zeydan Göz

Design for Lighting and Animation on Digital Platform Cem Yılmazer

Ligh Design Cafer Yiğiter

Dramaturgy Evren Barın Egrik

Kocaeli Municipal Theatres with the primary aim to bring new corporate dynamics to Turkish Theatre and to set an example, is took part in this year’s festival (2008) with a suggestion in line with this tradition and its founding structure. Constructed as an example of voice theatre, Irk Bitig aims to carry out an “inquisition of a good future” primarily by using voices.


Performers Engin Benli, Eylem Tanrıver Varlı, Şebnem Köstem

Chorus İrem Kahyaoğlu, Zeynep Özan, Burcu Güner, Senem Akman, Fatma Yılmaz

Translated into English by Selvin Yaltır

Irk Bitig, the idea which initiated this project is a prophesy text. Going back to the early 9th century, Irk Bitig is the oldest runic inscription telling about the real and the spiritual world of the Ancient Turks, the good and the bad and the perception of fate in a very simple language and it was brought to stage as a basis for the inquisition idea for the purpose of foreseeing the future once again/collectively.

Irk Bitig, inscribed at the beginning of a mass emigration of ten thousands of people, who were preparing for a march to West in order to search for a new homeland in Central Asia about to change their own faith as well as the faith of the ancient world, is a text which summarizes the relations of the warrior and hunter groups of the steppe with nature, animals and each other...

This prophecy with a recurring structure consisting of 65 paragraphs, each of which ends either with “this is good” or “this is bad”, brings its power and courage, the necessity for comments between the audience and the performers and the faith in comments through this play based on the text.

Through the voices, expressions and the relationship between the prognosticator and those who make him to prophesize, all within the tonality of the text, we come across an example voice theatre... This staging, which requires the participation of the audience by asking questions regarding the future, offers the audience a new aesthetic suggestion on theatre stage…

We constructed a play based on the values which form tradition, history and culture and we offered a new way of reading them out. We wanted to read out the future one more time by looking at the past. The artistic expansion of this work is the will to form contemporary disciplines by catching the gist of traditions.

First of all, voice. Why voice? In order to reflect all aspects of the past we internalized through the knowledge of the body. We believe that body contains historical memory. The body is on stage for us to watch both personal and social history almost without any interpretation.

Our questions on stage will be tangible. Our way of expression will be abstract, because we haven’t heard our own voices yet. We will hear those first. And then we will express them. We are looking for our own voices. This is an example of experimental theatre. We will try to find our own naked voices, we will try to like them and then we will try to give meaning to them for all of us...

Our position on stage is a resistance position to “what there is, the ordinary and the order which does not answer any new questions” from an artistic and social perspective. It is an attempt to find the voice we swallowed. Open to participation.