The rising star of theatre is no doubt Hira Tekindor! Hira, whom we believe values the artistic tendencies in his genes, is strong enough to take hold of everyone who meets him and admirable enough for us to wait for his next step. While studying cinema in London, Hiro directed the play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” with the proposal of Haluk Bilginer had 2 whole seasons of full house and became a theatre legend in Turkey. We caught him in his busy tempo preaparing for his new play A View From the Bridge and lined up a series of questions.
This season you are getting ready to stage Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge”. Is it as challenging as your first play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. Can you tell us, how did you pick this play?
There was a rearrangement in the bookstore of London National Theatre. They were changing the places of all the books. The shelf where Arthur Miller’s books stood was empty. They moved all his books somewhere else, but they forgot one book. A View From the Bridge!
I am a little bit embarrassed to say but I have never heard of this play from Miller before. I immediately got it, read it in the bookstore’s cafe and I was highly impressed by Eddie Carbone’s story. I called Haluk Bilginer and mentioned the play. He said “It is a very good play, I will read it again”. I sent the play to Istanbul. A few days later he said “Okay. We are performing this play for this season.”
Unfortunately we have very little support for theatre. People try to perform miracles with ridiculous budgets.
How do you do the casting?
When I read the scenario, for every character people appear in my mind whom I say “this is his/her role”, but casting might not always be what you think it is because some actors might not like the role, or they don’t have the time… And for other reasons they might not accept the role. Sometimes you work with the name you first thought of. The most important thing is that the actor is a good actor and fits into the role. Also if the actor likes his own character, then working is a joy.
Do you have any negative reactions or experiences due to being young and based on who your family is?
Probably me being young causes some prejudice. Most reactions I get are that I am very lucky. I never denied it. Because of my parents I met a lot of valuable actors, I constantly saw plays, I was always in that context. I started to read plays when I was really young. But this situation always has been a driving force for me. I always wanted to do better and more special things. Actually these chances keep me away from laziness.
Did you ever have another occupation in mind? Did you always imagine to be a director?
When I was young, I wanted to be a goalkeeper. But during a vacation in Cannes with my mother, we coincidentally came across the film festival and I decided to be a director. I remember being amazed by the red carpet and the lights. Later I never changed my mind.
If I could speak German, I would like to live in Berlin. I loved Berlin as a city and I admire the world of arts and culture there.
As a person who grew up in theatre, as someone who follows both the scenes of London and Istanbul, and as a new generation director, what do you think is the main difference between these two cities?
Yes, I live in London. I can follow the art world there very closely. Not only London, but I go to see plays in many cities, so I also know about them as much. With their opportunities on stage and technique, they are superior to us due to the amazing support from the government. Unfortunately we have very little support for theatre. People try to perform miracles with ridiculous budgets. As for the playwrights, since they get more support abroad, they can write more creative and free plays that are different than each other. Here, people are dispirited for writing. Which stage will it be performed, which institution it has to go through, who will approve it etc… Therefore if we talk about Istanbul, unfortunately this development and change seems a bit far from us. The state should follow a very serious art policy with the right people, as there is lot of special people who gave their lives to theatre. How come they never think of asking for advice from those people?
You have film education, you live in London and you keep in touch with Turkey by staging plays. What are your future dreams? Do you plan to have a more active working life here?
I would like to do works that I love and feel happy to be part of it. These works can be in London, Istanbul or in other cities… I have a film production company in London. Of course I would like to shoot a motion picture one day. There are a lot of theatre plays I want to stage. There are a lot of actors that I want to work with. I hope all these dreams come true.
If we think about the realization of these plans, what is the next step after the new play?
There is a scenario that is written by my high school friend Arda Ekşigil. It is a tragicomic story that takes place in Istanbul. If everything goes well, we are planning to shoot the picture in summer 2016.
Who is the most remarkable director of Turkish cinema for you?
This is a very difficult question. It is hard to say only one. Reha Erdem’s My Little Sunshine is my favorite Turkish movie. Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a legendary film. Onur Ünlü’s Thou Gild’st the Even is also an amazing film. I am happy to say I cannot give one director’s name.
You have a busy life between London and Istanbul. Other than these, which cities and cultures nourish you?
If I could speak German, I would like to live in Berlin. I loved Berlin as a city and I admire the world of arts and culture there. It is a pleasure to see a play there even without understanding one word. Great actors, great directors and they have great ideas.
What do you suggest to those who go to Berlin for the first time, what should they definitely see?
My favorite town in Berlin is Prenzlauer Berg. They should definitely go there. They have amazing museums and amazing theatres in Berlin. They should definitely see a play in Berliner Ensemble. Schaubühne is an amazing theatre company. They also came to Turkey with Hamlet and An Enemy of the People on tour. They should definitely see a play there.
We know that people like to get film or play suggestions from you. What do you suggest for us?
One of the plays I saw last season, which still continues, The Empire Builders was really impressive. I really liked Glass Menagerie by Şehir Tiyatroları. Also DOT’s play Midsummer continues this year, a must-see.
Some of my favorite movies I can think of: Videodrome, The Triplets of Belleville, Angel Heart, Hot Fuzz and Wreck-It Ralph.