Interview: Gamze Ceylan of NOURA at Guthrie Theater

By: Feb. 07, 2020

Interview: Gamze Ceylan of NOURA at Guthrie Theater Heading into the final week of the Guthrie's staging of Heather Raffo's NOURA, leading actor Gamze Ceylan, a German Turkish actor in her Guthrie debut, answers our 6 Questions and 6 Quick Hits to share a little about her career and thoughts on the play, which is directed by Taibi Magar.

NOURA was reviewed by our Karen Bovard.

Since this is a Midwest area premiere, can you give a short description of NOURA from the perspective of your character?

NOURA is the story of Noura, an architect, a mother, a wife and a refugee from Iraq, who has just became an American citizen preparing for a very special Christmas dinner. She tries to do the 'right' things, regarding her family, her heritage and her guests.

This show is based somewhat on Ibsen's A DOLL'S HOUSE but has current day theme of immigration along with the story of this woman. What lessons do you think NOURA shares with audiences?

It is more of a reaction to Ibsen's play, not based on it. In our play people might see a world where people don't walk out on their family, but stay in the mess, and search for themselves whilst doing so.

As you have explored this part, what have you come to love most about the character you portray and what was the biggest challenge playing her?

I love the art that lives in her! And the poet in her! The biggest challenge was to be able to be connected to her tangential thoughts.

This show is a debut for your entire cast at this theater. What do you think of the Guthrie Theater so far? of Minneapolis?

I LOVE THE GUTHRIE! I love everyone here at the Guthrie. We are so privileged to be here, at a place where people walk the talk! I am still exploring Minneapolis, when I find time. I love it here, so much still to find out about, for me, and the warmth of the people here keep us warm!

What brought you to acting and how did you get your start?

I saw MOMO as a child in Germany and fell in love with theater. I was performing in school productions, as a dancer, singer and actor, but ultimately what made me make a commitment is seeing Chita Rivera in KISS OF A SPIDER WOMAN, back in London. I just had a very magical moment in the darkness in that theater. I just had a clear vision for myself, I guess. Then I applied to a drama school in London and it grew from there.

What will you be working on next after this production ends next month?

I have been planning and working for a while now on the pre-production of a short film I wrote, so I really need to get that going. I'm so excited to see that project unfolding! For any future projects, my site is:

6 Quick Hits:

Favorite Song: 'Me & Bobby McGee' - Janis Joplin

Favorite Historical Figure: Nelson Mandela

Comedy or Tragedy? Tragedy!

Vacation Spot: Mountains, anywhere

Favorite Food: Manti (Turkish dumplings, look it up)

Favorite Word: Quatsch (German expression for 'BS', pronounced Kvah-tch)


Check out this video on the show's webpage that features the cast of Noura discussing what they've been reflecting on in the rehearsal room.

Visit for tickets and details. The show on the McGuire Proscenium closes Feb. 16, 2020.

Photo provided by Guthrie Theater

2023 Regional Awards

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