Every year, from the second week of the month of December until mid January, delivery service of my beloved New-Yorker magazine goes berzerk. I usually get two to three magazines around January first and then another two or three (depending on the previous delivery) around Jan 15th.
Which is why you shouldn’t be surprised that I’m still thinking about the very powerful article in the December 24 & 31 combined issue (which, by the way, was a particularly awesome issue, one of the absolute best!) called : “Stage Mothers: A women’s theatre in rural Turkey” by Elif Batuman. The article ties in so well with the excellent Moroccan film “La source des femmes“ (called “The Source” in the US and “Water/Love” in Israel).
Both the article and the book talk about women in poor rural areas where traditions restricting women are strong. The litercay level is low. While the film relates to women’s battle to improve their lives in general, beautifully and movingly told, the article gives it a surprising twist. Not only is the article a true story (can’t write the names for you, I don’t know how to write the Turkish Symbols! See the link) but it is amazing that women with such dismal literacy rates turned to theatre as their medium of expression. The driving force behind the theatre is a woman who saw her first play when she was in her forties and is the only one of her female siblings that got to go school. The women rehearse after working 10-12 hour days on farms! But it turns out that theatre is the perfect media for making these rural women aware that life doesn’t have to be this way and the theatre is having a big impact.
The movie is set in rural Morocco, not rural Turkey, but there are enough similarities to have the movie help one imagine how one woman can set a chain reaction into motion. I hope you can get a hold of it where you are!