A Shakespeare story told in a modern way

A contemporary version of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus will be staged in Türkiye to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of the greatest of all dramatists, by the eminent theatre director and educator Malcolm Keith Kay

Malcolm Keith Kay is an English-born Australian theatre director and educator, who has directed innumerable successful plays in many countries, especially in Türkiye. Kay came to Türkiye for the first time in 1968, as a young man who was not yet active in theatre. He was hitchhiking to India back then, and stayed in Istanbul for about two months. After his first visit to the country, Kay came to revisit Türkiye in 1992, by invitation. He would later be asked to become an assistant professor at Dokuz Eylül University; a proposal that he went on to accept.

During his academic career within the university, Kay also directed many plays. He was granted an award from Izmir State Theatre in 2012 with his Romeo and Juliet play, as director of the year. Kay today is known worldwide as a prominent theatre director who has directed many plays in Adana, Antalya, Izmir, Bursa and now, in Istanbul. When we ask Kay why he chose to live and to continue his career in Türkiye, he tells us that he loves Türkiye and he feels alive here. In fact, the bustle of its cities gives him inspiration; Kay says that the atmosphere is good for theatre.

Kay became a Turkish citizen three months ago; he has plans to do some work in Istanbul, maybe a big musical but it’s not yet certain. He and his wife Gülcan are also working on a film project that they are planning to realise in Türkiye with Turkish actors, in English. On May 18 Kay and his team are due to stage the play Coriolanus, to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. He declares that he is excited about the play, as always.

The director and his team of Turkish actors are going through a tough process, because Shakespeare is not easy to perform. When we ask Kay about his interpretation methods, he tells us that he’s adapting the story from Shakespeare, in a different and modern way. He emphasises that they will break new ground in the making of Coriolanus; short films of actors will be projected on screens and they will contribute to the creation of coherence during the play. Kay notes they have used similar methods whilst directing plays such as Othello and The Tempest, but have not have gone this far in the level of experimentation.

Finally, we ask Kay if he has any suggestions for the improvement of theatre and art in Türkiye. He stresses that the industry needs to be modernised and that there has to be directors’ and actors’ workshops. He also notes that theory is very good in Türkiye, but practice in terms of theory is not sufficient. Kay does not forget to remind us that he decided to come to Türkiye and stay here because he has a strong belief that Turkish theatre, cinema and TV should be on a bigger worldwide stage. We’re looking forward to hearing of future projects from Malcolm Keith Kay