After twelve years in exile in Germany, the poet Ka returns to Kars in Eastern Anatolya to report on suicide among young women wearing headscarves. It snows continuously for three days, cutting off the city from the outside world. Local elections are being held and the victory of an Islamist candidate is a talking point. The performance of an educational melodrama from the Atatürk era, at which time there was a lot of propaganda about women removing their veils, ignites an argument on stage. Should a woman be forced to take off her headscarf? Which weighs heavier: the reason of a secular state or the personal freedom of religious belief? Events escalate, members of an obscure special commando storm the stage and, under the leadership of state actor Sunay Zaim, they pretend they must save the state from Islamists. The poet, Ka attempts to shine a light on political conspiracies but gets tangled up as a mediator in the struggle between Turkish and Kurdish nationals, the army and Islamist fundamentalists.
For director Ersan Mondtag, Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Snow’ is highly explosive and current. In his novel, written before 9/11, Pamuk wanted the small city of Kars to act as a microcosm of Turkey. After the attacks on the World Trade Centre, Pamuk began to understand that Turkey’s problems were the world’s problems. Today Pamuk’s appeal sounds out to the West: “Please make a distinction between the Muslim community and political Islam! Please make a distinction between political Islam and radical fundamentalists! After attacks like the Charlie Hebdo murders, emotions start to blur these distinctions. Terrible!”
Premiere 25th February 2016, Thalia Gauß
24th March 2018
14th October 2016
Festspiele Ludwigshafen, Germany