“The Parade” is a Turkish-language production of Loula Anagnostaki’s play, directed by Barış Celiloğlu, which ran at the Arcola Theatre. Two bored siblings (Dilek Yorulmaz and Emre Gündoğdu) are in a secluded room overlooking the town square, where a parade, and the unveiling of what they assume is a statue, is expected to take place. However, things start to gradually take a darker turn as the true nature of what is about to take place, as well as the reason for their seclusion, becomes clearer.
One might assume that having to constantly refer to a caption above the stage to understand what is going on would reduce the immediacy of the performance. However, the expressiveness of the cast, as well as the simplicity of Loula Anagnostaki’s script, makes it easy for non-Turkish speakers to follow what is going on. Indeed, in a strange way it only adds to the sense that this play isn’t anchored in any specific time or period, but is making a more general point about oppression and powerlessness.
Director Barış Celiloğlu also deserves a lot of praise for working with Yorulmaz and Gündoğdu to build up the tension, with the playfulness of the opening, giving way to a sense of looming tension. The simple set, which utilises the same space as Mike Bartlett’s Not Talking, also helps to focus attention on the plot, as well as keeping it apart from any specific point in time. Overall, this is an excellent production of a moving and provocative play.