So Which is Harder, To Stay or To Go?: Cırcır Böceği İtler ve Biz (2023)

I will tell you about a 75-minute one-act play.

Before moving on to the play, I should convey a coincidence.

In 2019, I went to the Vahşi BatıTrue West theatre at the Kağıthane Sadabat Cultural Centre. I had not researched the play before and I had not bought the ticket. True West was the famous play of Sam Shepard, one of the brave writers of contemporary American theatre and world literature, who died in 2017. On a cold January day, this theatre would be good for me. It was a 115-minute play in 2 acts. The presence of Serdar Orçin and Ahmet Saraçoğlu in the cast was enough for me to watch it.

The subject of the play was how people who are dragged into competition are grinded between the wheels of capitalism. I thought the subject was great. The acting was also great, but something was missing. After I left the play, I thought I might as well not go. Five and a half years passed, and Buğra Gülsoy and Serhat Teoman‘s play “Cırcır Böcekleri İtler ve Biz caught my attention. The poster of the play read:


“Two brothers. An urban, educated screenwriter. A free-spirited thief who takes refuge in the forests.
The story of two brothers discovering and becoming each other in different seasons on the same tree.
The battle of the city against nature, art against commerce, education against ignorance, dreams against reality.
While man is crushed in the system he built with his own hands, can he not manage to get out of this trap with his own hands? Or did the system that man built act smarter than man and make him incompetent?
So which is more difficult, to stay or to go?”


I bought a ticket for the play and waited for fifteen days with excitement. After fifteen days, I made my way to the Fişekhane stage, which I had never been to before. It was a very beautiful place, it was as if I had come to a different Istanbul from the Istanbul I lived in.

The play started, fifteen minutes passed and I said, “I came to this play.” I focussed more on the play while trying to understand how I remembered it, yes, only the name and actors of the True West play I went to five and a half years ago had changed. It is possible, yes it is possible. Why not, how many actors haven’t we seen Hamlet?

Let me talk a little bit about the play then. Then we can continue the comparison between “True West” and “Cırcır Böcekleri İtler ve Biz“.

Cırcır Böcekleri İtler ve Biz“, staged under the direction of Mert Öner, is inspired by Sam Shepard‘s play “True West“, which bravely shows the true face of America. This play is also the first project of Art 12. Mert Öner has added a different interpretation to the play. We can see this from the actors and the decor of the stage.

There are two brothers in the play, one of them is a writer. He earns his living by writing scripts. The other brother is a homeless and unemployed man living in the mountains and forests. The brothers have not seen each other for a long time. One day their mother goes travelling and the brother, who is a writer, goes to his mother’s house both to look after the house and to write alone for his new project. At that moment when he focuses on writing, his brother comes home and the story begins here.

We witness the identity conflict of the two brothers. Their efforts to survive, rebellion against capitalism… We also witness the siblings changing their forced roles that they do not accept and that life has assigned to them. There is a state of being stuck in the characters, they want to show us this state of being stuck, but how do they do it? By narrowing the stage space… We watch the last scene in a narrow space. The play analyses the concept of “sacred family” with an invisible father, a mother who appears later and two siblings who are present throughout the scene, and conveys the concept extensively with psychological analyses.

If I talk about the acting, I give Buğra Gülsoy and Serhat Teoman a standing ovation, just like in the theatre. They convey the loneliness, helplessness and stuckness of human beings so well. You experience the rivalry between the siblings, the question “which one’s life is better or can be chosen?” stays with you.

Buğra Gülsoy and Serhat Teoman give an extraordinary performance in terms of dialogue, psychological and political conflict. The director successfully reflects the sociocultural mood of today’s people in his new interpretation of the True West, blended with irony from time to time. Both actors are remarkable in their impressive portrayal of this update. Thanks to Ayşe Lebriz Berkem‘s acting mastery, the emotionless, soulless and loveless character of the mother shines on the stage. Burak Sarımola‘s interpretation of the foxy producer who pits the siblings against each other and ignites the conflict is quite successful. With the performances of the actors and the director’s ironic interpretation of the True West, it seems inevitable that this updated version will offer an impressive experience to the audience.

But it is still not the best play I have ever been to. Although the acting, the subject matter and the scenery were very good, it still gave me the feeling of the “True West“. I think you should go and watch it and please comment, I will be looking forward to your comments.



Year of First Performance: 2023
Drama, Tragedy
Sam Shepard
Translated by: Yıldırım Türker
Directed by: Mert Öner
Cast: Serhat Teoman, Buğra Gülsoy, Burak Sarımola, Ayşe Lebriz Berkem
Set and Lighting Design: Cem Yılmazer
Music Design: Nep’tune / Arkadaş Deniz Koşar, Mekin Sezer
Assistant Director: Şakir Güler
Reji Assistants: Aslı Işık, Mizgin Özel
Costume: Arin Umut Öğmen
Poster Design: Buğra Gülsoy
Poster and Publicity Photos: Jiyan Kızılboğa
Poster Design Application: Özge Sezgin
Producer: Art 12
Executive Producer: Omnia Yapım
Art 12 Executive Producer: Sibel Teoman
Production Coordinator: Ayşegül Beyazdağ
Communication Consultancy: İletişim Deposu
Social Media Communication: Gözde Kaynak