#ArtApart: Stage Reading of "Wine and Halva"

May. 4 2020
Deniz Basar
Literary Reading or Event

Hello dear fellow Writers' Union members,

I am writing to share the stage reading video of my newest play, Wine and Halva, which is released through the #ArtApart funds of National Theatre School of Canada. It is a play about institutional racism and solidarity.

Link to the video: https://ent-nts.ca/en/art-apart-wine-halva

I hope you enjoy it. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me for any feedback.

Deniz Başar


About the play

Wine&Halva is a play about the unconventional friendship between Farias, a white (or white passing) gay man from a fictional Anglophone Canadian city called ''New Stockholm,'' and Derya, a Turkish woman who immigrated to that fictional city and needs to deal with many invisible cases of institutional discrimination alone. Wine&Halva is an open and playful text, with three narrators getting in and out of these two characters throughout the play to underline the fluid nature of identity in different contexts. The story focuses on how these two people from very different histories and struggles learn (and perhaps invent) ways to support and love each other. Wine&Halva is a play that challenges multiple widely accepted Canadian assumptions about immigration, and represents the nature of institutional discrimination along with its possible impact on the human psyche, especially under conditions of extreme precarity, such as the one we are going through right now.  

About the journey of the play

Wine&Halva had its initial development through Playwrights Workshop Montreal’s (PWM) Young Creators Unit 2018-2019, and has been selected by the Artistic and Executive Director of PWM, Emma Tibaldo, for further dramaturgical development.

First public showcase of the play was on April 26, 2019, with the sponsorship of Mainline Theatre (Montreal). Additionally, Wine&Halva was awarded with two Play Development Residencies, and the first one took place between 27th of February and 12th of March 2020, at the Theatre Department of Faculty of Media, Art and Performance in University of Regina, Saskatchewan. The second week-long residency will take place during the summer of 2020 at PWM, and again end with a workshop production. Sort-of-Productions, a Montreal-based theatre collective, has selected Wine&Halva for the full production in their 2020-2021 season.

The Play Development Residency for Wine&Halva in the Theatre Department of the Faculty of Media, Art and Performance in University of Regina was a specially successful interprovincial collaboration between Quebec and Saskatchewan. The University of Regina and Concordia University (Montreal) co-funded the residency. It allowed for the play to grow and develop through the collaboration of a very diverse group of theatre students at the UofR: particularly, those enrolled in “THAC360 Scene Study” and “THST465 Advanced Studies in Dramaturgy: Postmodern, Intercultural, and Multilingual Theatre” classes. Two student dramaturges, Hussain Zaidi and Valentin Camus worked on Wine&Halva to help develop the play through the course of these two weeks.

A staged reading of Wine&Halva, followed by a talkback session took place on March 12, 2020, Thursday, between 4:30-7 pm, at Shu-Box Theatre, Riddell Centre in University of Regina. Now looking back, it seems miraculous that this staged reading happened on the last day of our pre-COVID-19 days, on the last day before the quarantine started. Student actors, Michaelson Musa, Bhavana Kishore-Hariram, Jasey Jacobs and Kevin McLaurin volunteered to perform in the staged reading, which was directed by Art Babayants (Toronto Laboratory Theatre). The result was a very enjoyable semiprofessional production that received an exited and deeply engaged response from the audience. The staged reading showcased students who are non-native English speakers, immigrants and people of color, who are often marginalized by the mainstream Canadian theatre; a reality that was particularly visible in the theatre microcosm of Regina, Saskatchewan. William Hales, the department head of Theatre in University of Regina, professionally recorded the production.

Lastly, special thanks to Sue E from Sort-of-Productions for their amazing work in editing the video.


About #Art Apart

Art Apart is an initiative by the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) that provides support to emerging theatre artists, professional artists, and the community during the coronavirus crisis. It’s a way to help minimize the impact of this crisis in the arts community, to provide much-needed assistance to artists by rapidly injecting funds into the arts sector, and to continue sharing knowledge and having a dialogue among artists across Canada.