Welcome to Pinima
What are the chances of a pianist defying a powerful autocrat?
First published on 13-05-2013
The title of this review is derived from Welcome to Gattaca, a science-fiction movie where the protagonist (incarnated by Ethan Hawke) fights against all odds in order to follow his heart and do what he believes he is entitled to do as a human being with goals, dreams, rights and dignity.
And so it goes with a pianist from a country called Pinima.
The Pianist, a candid and generous character, wants to share her passion of the piano with passers-by in the streets near Pinima Square. However, the Pinima street police, who is supposed to uphold sacred order and harmony in society, don't quite see it this way.
From there on the Pianist goes through what can be called a crusade (without the religious connotation) first to establish her right to express herself through playing the piano, and then to challenge the national “sacred values” and the man behind them and behind the exceedingly repressive rule in Pinima: the President.
We do not know much about the President, except that he rules Pinima with a firm hand and draws his power from his nationalist, patriarchal, family- and religious-centered approach of things, which seems to seduce a number of Pinns and discourages the others from questioning the status-quo.
That is until the Pianist incident.
The Pianist is played by actress Pinar Ogun, who does the amazing job of being on two scenes at the same time in a flawless, transparent-to-the-spectator manner: the physical scene, in the theater, and the digital scene, where she keeps the digital audience updated thanks to smartphone-enabled live-streaming and micro-blogging. And this is where we get to the main innovation of Mi Minor.
Occupy Pinima Square.
Inspired by the duality of the fight for freedom during the Arab Spring, that took place both in the streets and online, Mi Minor is a play that you can experience either in the theater venue or from your couch at home. And each of them will seem so perfectly whole and will feel so smooth that you will barely remember the existence of the other experience.
Expect all this and more during the next Mi Minor season. And maybe geographically closer than you think.
The direction of the play is insured by Memet Ali Alabora, who has successfully orchestrated the play so that every scene and effect is perfectly timed and balanced by the acting and the special effects. This, in addition to the talent of the rest of the cast and crew, makes confrontations, improvised dancings, assassinations, digital hijackings look and sound spectacular. Memet Ali also plays the egomaniac, arrogant, and sometimes foolish Pinnish President, and does so in a manner so right that it will make you dislike the President but not so much, because there are little things about him (the product of his foolish side) that will still make him somewhat likable, and most-certainly laughable at times.
Mi Minor is the product of the unbridled imagination of novelist and playwright Meltem Arikan, whose work has always challenged the psyche and construction of societies (yes, and pretty much all of them) at a fundamental level, naturally disturbing groups benefiting from the existing structure of power and often triggering more-or-less open censorship in her country Turkey.
Now Meltem has also challenged the way plays are played, and brilliantly introduces the digital world into it, which very likely makes Mi Minor the first of a kind which will hopefully flourish.
Although the first season of Mi Minor has ended in mid-April, you can still watch the Ustream recordings, although you will lack (and probably miss) the interactivity (by chat or micro-blogging) that you can have with the Pianist and the rest of the digital audience during a live performance.
I will not spoil here the end of Welcome to Gattaca nor that of Mi Minor, however just know that they are both worth watching.
Especially since, thanks to digital media, geographic distances have been abolished which makes it possible for everyone to join (yes, literally join, not just watch) Mi Minor and relive the thrill, excitement and uncertainty accompanying popular uprisings such as the Arab Spring.
Visit the official websites of Mi Minor:
Twitter account of the play
Twitter account of the Pianist
Twitter account of Pinima
Read our (not that) fake PiniLeaks cables and articles:
Pinnish autocrat's highjacking of his country's economy finally exposed.
Pinima presdient's "foreign affairs".
New pinnish law might legalize underage girls prostitution and labor.
USRA undercover agent's briefing.
Pictures released on Pinima government's website pretend to show PiniLeaks founder eating with his hands, while it is not chicken.
Pinima President decides all gourds will be reimported.
For more on Meltem, Memet Ali and Pinar:
- Meltem's website
- Meltem on Twitter
- Memet Ali's website
- Memet Ali on Twittter
- Pinar's website
- Pinar on Vimeo
- Pinar on Twitter