Meriç Artaç: “I wanted to create a round, space filling, atmospheric composition.”

Over the past one and a half year Meriç Artaç, composer in residence, has been introducing characters to the audience of Dag in de Branding. Now she is closing in on her grand finale in November, but first she introduces two characters in the online edition on June 9th. We spoke with Meriç Artaç about the upcoming festival, Corona, and the nearing conclusion of her residency at Dag in de Branding.

Your residency at Dag in de Branding is coming to an end. How has the pandemic influenced your time at the festival?
A big influence of the pandemic is unfortunately not being able to meet the audience. The last time I was in a theatre hall with an audience was at the March 2020 edition of Festival Dag in de Branding. Since then my pieces have been presented online. Therefore, the situation has pushed me to think in a different way to present the characters. I felt the need to include the camera and recording aspect as an extra layer in my compositions and to think about the experience of the audience through their screens. For us makers and peformers it is quite a unique possibility to learn new things and see new ways of creating and presenting. I believe the energy is quite different when you don’t have that direct physicality of an audience within the performance space.

On june 9th you are introducing two new characters, Gece and Korke. Can you tell us more about them? Who are they and how did you come up with them?
These two new charactera that I developed are the creations of real life experiences and observations. So to me, they are very close to my heart.

My new character Gece, represented by soprano Brigitte van Hagen, is a true inspiration from a dark, nostalgic place. The name Gece means “night” in Turkish. She is a blind character both in a real and metaphorical sense of the word. She can only see primary colours, these colours are represented in her hair/wig, developed by Carmen Schabracq. The fourth colour she can see is white, representing her inner child.

I been always been impressed by the atmosphere of nostalgia; talking about the past, the smell and the feeling of the stories from our childhood. Gece is driven by her nostalgic mindset and the colours are directing her stories. The composition is based on the different colours which trigger her memory. I wanted to create a round, space filling, atmospheric composition supported by the instrument Bajan, performed by Robbrecht van Cauwenberghe. I find the instrument sound so strong, rich and fulfilling like the character Gece.

The character Korke performed by singer and tapdancer Julia Pallanch, is the complete opposite of Gece. Korke is a quite narcissistic character, who is all about the performance, showing herself and using her charm on everyone around her. Her power comes from her tap dance, freedom in singing, improvisations in which she tries to take over everything that is around her: the melodies of Gece, the rhythms of the percussion player and even his instruments. She looks charming and harmless but actually she is quite destructive. When there is Korke there is very little space for others. The composition is very rhythmical, quite direct and doesn’t have many layers of depth, thus representing the true characteristics of Korke.

I wanted to use the percussion performed by Ricardo Oliveira next to Korke to create an equal force to keep her in line. The dialogue she is creating with the percussion player and their bickering relationship is really crucial for the piece.

Can you already give us a sneak peak of what we can expect of your final opera at Dag in de Branding this November?
Together with director Sjaron Minailo I will create a very colourful, dynamic experience for the audience. All the characters which I have been presenting individually are coming together in the final show, under the house of Mr. Zanzun where they have been captured. During the opera they will need to work together and those lonely characters will need each other’s support.

Curious about this performance? Read more and buy your ticket for June 9 in our webshop.

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