Veteran Turkish thespian Haluk Bilginer’s İstanbul-based company Oyun Atölyesi (Theater Workshop) staged the play once on Saturday and twice on Sunday at the Globe as part of its international festival where all of the Bard’s 37 plays are being put on in 37 different languages.
The Turkish rendition of the play, titled “Antonius ve Kleopatra,” starred Bilginer as Antony, Zerrin Tekindor as Cleopatra, Emre Karayel as Sextus Pompey and Mert Fırat as Octavius Caesar in its title roles. “We are staging arguably the most important play by the world’s most important playwright here on the world’s most important theater stage,” Bilginer told the Anatolia news agency last week during rehearsals in London. “Playing here is a thrilling experience,” Bilginer said, adding, “The atmosphere is amazing; it’s not like any other theater.”
The production’s director, Kemal Aydoğan, also told Anatolia that “Antony and Cleopatra,” despite being one of Shakespeare’s most rarely staged plays in Turkey, was one of the Bard’s most popular plays in Britain, adding that he hoped this would help the production attract English-speaking theater-goers in addition to Turkish audiences.
The Turkish play is one of the rare plays on the festival program to be featured three times, according to Globe to Globe Festival Director Tom Bird, who said this was due to the great number of Turkish people living in London.