International Conference "Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theatre Design & Technology

December 16 - 20, 2017

Social Heterophony, Compulsive Storytelling and The Manipulation of Memory. Research-based creative tools.

Presentation by Thought Experiment Productions - Ülfet Sevdi, a writer, theatre director, dramaturge and Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner based in Montreal, Canada and Istanbul, Turkey; Nicolas Royer-Artuso, a composer, musician, musicologist, linguist, music teacher, Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner (Canada) and Itir Arditi an actor and a writer (Canada).   

Itir Arditi
is an actor and a writer who currently writes and hosts for Turkuaz TV,  the only Turkish community television on air in Canada. She holds an MFA degree in acting from Canada’s York University- Theatre Department, and a BA degree in Political Science from Turkey’s Bosphorus University - Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences. Itir started acting in 1996 after she worked in journalism and advertising. She was trained in Studio Oyunculuri  Acting Studio in Istanbul for 2 years. Studio Oyunculari Theatre is one one the most prominent contemporary theatre companies in the country, which is  known for  its experimental and innovative work nationally and internationally. Upon finishing training, she started acting for the company where she later became an acting instructor. Her acting credits with Studio Oyunculari includes “Play(er)” ,“5 Short Plays-Samuel Beckett” and “Becoming a Rhinoceros”. She also participated in several international festivals in Europe with the above plays. Meanwhile she completed level 2 of Drama in Education workshops given by Contemporary Drama Association in Istanbul. She has done some TV work as well. 

After moving to Canada she was admitted to York University Theatre Department’s Graduate Program in Acting, where she graduated in 2009. Itir performed in “The Bundle”, “The Bewitched“, “Twelfth Night”, Beowulf”, “Despair” and “Love’s Labor’s Lost” during her two years of training. Itir has been writing and hosting for Turkuaz TV since 2012.

Nicolas Royer-Artuso is a composer, musician (oud player, violinist), musicologist, linguist, writer, music teacher, Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner living between Montreal and Istanbul. After studies in classical western music, jazz and electro-acoustic composition, he soon after devoted himself to maqam music. He has directed and co-directed many groups devoted to maqam music. He also is a proficient free improviser and has performed with groups he co-founded 
and with many different musicians. A key aspect of his musical work is the theoretical and practical use of “heterophony.” He 
has written, given talks and published articles on the subject and has released one practical aspect (a CD) of it: Studies in Heterophonics, an album of 'natural' generative music. Since 2013, he is the organizer/curator of ‘Dogaçlafest’, an Istanbul based festival devoted to improvised music. In 2015, he co-founded Thought Experiment Productions, a multidisciplinary production company dedicated to the production of performances with political content using research in social sciences as a methodological framework.

Ülfet Sevdi is a writer, theatre director, dramaturge, drama teacher and Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner based in Montreal, Canada. She graduated from the Department of Fine Arts and Theatre at Mersin University, Turkey, in 2001. Her work deals with oral history, social narrative and is theoretically grounded in feminist theory and the social sciences. She uses academic research to build the content of her plays, e.g. Sürüne Sürüne Erkek Olmak is based on Pınar Selek's sociological work on the compulsory military service in Turkey; Sorgu on rape and the legal system in Turkey; and Bildiğin Gibi Değil on the situation of Turkey's Kurds in the 1990's. She often collaborates with artists from different artistic backgrounds to elaborate and share a personal aesthetic experience. She also conducts workshops that build on narrative techniques to deepen her comprehension of this highly complex activity. In doing so, she feels that a more realistic and complex performance can surface which at the same time empowers the individual. The last versions of these workshops are Social heterophony, compulsive storytelling and the manipulation of memory (given at Mixed Company/Toronto) and From Turkey to X (where X represent the destination city of the immigrants or refugees; it was given at Mixed Company/Toronto and Playwright Workshop Montreal) building on three years of research into the complex relationship between memory, storytelling, manipulation and power. 


In this presentation, we aim at presenting techniques that we have been developing for the last four years. Clearly grounded in Augusto Boal's work in the field of the Theatre of the Oppressed, these techniques offer the participants new ways of understanding the relationships between: telling stories of lived oppression, creating mental scenarios out of what is told, the possible (self) manipulation of the results of this creation, and the social negotiation of truth in the forum.  The forum, which is the ideal image of democracy in action, is the locus of this negotiation in so far as it provides a platform for the spect-actor to express and try through direct action his/her theories of the social world, and a place to find counterexamples to these theories. This way, his/her accepted presuppositions about the social world can be confirmed or changed, and a more realistic image of the actual way this world works can emerge.  The specific focus on story-telling provides a window to observe the individual immersed in a flow of variants of accepted stories, and provides a way to question oppression and authority, and an understanding of how the oppressors' point of view is often hidden in what we think is our story. This work is intended for anybody interested in the Theatre of the Oppressed and its extensions, and in understanding the social and aesthetical importance of narration and its power to create social change.   

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"