ANTAKYA, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF HATAY – The atmosphere was tense at the sell-out premiere tonight of the first-ever foreign production of the Broadway hit Hamilton in Antakya in southern Turkey (more specifically in the de facto independent People’s Republic of Hatay). Worker’s Spatula’s local correspondent and TÖPG militant, [REDACTED], received a special invitation from director Cem Karagün to see how the magic was made:
WS: You must be very excited to have brought this musical to Turkey. What inspired you to do it?
CK: Well, after we heard it had played such an important role in taking down the Obama government, it was a natural next step to bring it here and see if it could do the same thing.
WS: I see. So how did you manage to get hold of the rights?
CK: Our next step was to ask our sister organisation in the US to help us out. They found out that one of the cleaners at the theatre was a member of a Trotskyite sect, but rather than have him ice-axed, they traded him a newspaper subscription for copies of the script and sheet music.
WS: And how have the people of Armutlu responded to the musical?
CK: We’ve had an overwhelming response, really. From the moment that Hamilton witnesses the glories of Castro’s revolution in Cuba as a child. to his shooting in the back by the imperialists during a kind of Communist version of the Sheikh Said rebellion, people are jumping out of their seats and ululating. Before you know it, they had stormed a nearby police station and were passing the weapons out to anyone who would take them – and this is just the first night.
WS: It’s fair to say you’ve made a few tweaks to adjust the musical to the local political culture?
CK: Well yes, of course. People here don’t really respond particularly well to extended discussions about constitutional matters, but they did appreciate the insistence that armed struggle and revolution were the solution to contemporary problems. So we adjusted it to focus on that point.
WS: Some here have found the inclusion of a rapping Asian-American Mahir Çayan to be controversial.
CK: That’s the best bit.
WS: Well, congratulations on your successful transfer of the musical, wishing you many successes!
CK: Long live the popular front and the revolution! Long live President Assad! Long live Hamilton!