Heidi Trautmann

730 - Aliye Ummanel’s new play stretches out a neighbourly hand - ‘Kayip/The Missing’

 ‘Kayip/The Missing’ at the Sartiriko Theatre in Nicosia/Strovolos

 By Heidi Trautmann

 ....and they came to grasp the hand... more than three hundred filled the Sartiriko Theatre.... and it would have been more, had there been more room, the telephone at the box office ran hot. It was a good atmosphere in the big house of the Sartiriko in Nicosia-Strovolos. A bus load full had come from the North, I was among them.

Yaşar Ersoy, Culture and Art Coordinator and former director of the Lefkoşa Belediye Theatre and Spiros Pandelidis , Director of the Sartiriko Theatre, are old friends, they speak one language and they came out on stage together with Aliye Ummanel, playwright and director of ‚ ‘Kayip’. They were welcomed by the audience with thunderous applause. The message they gave was directed to the wish to end all hate and obstacles that separate the two communities and Aliye Ummanel said ...as we share the same pain for persons missing, I as the writer and director of the play, together with the two theatre houses and their teams sincerely hope that it may be a contribution to peace....

There was another play ‘Bariş/ Peace’  by Aristophanes performed here on the same stage in the 1987 and many Greek Cypriots still remember the play. Among the guests were many white headed Cypriots but also quite a number of young people. I saw professors from Cyprus University and I encountered Mr. Luley, director of the Goethe Institute  who brought with him Volker Ludwig from GRIPS Theatre Berlin who  is directing a children’s play at the THOX Theatre in Nicosia South on January 25, an event supported by the Goethe Institute. See my website under  Cultural Events. They also have cooperated with the Lefkoşa Belediye Theatre for some time.

Yes, the new play ‘Kayıp/The Missing’ was again an event to touch the core of the Cyprus pain. Aliye Ummanel had the play translated into English and Greek and it was fantastic to have the subtitles simultaneously on screen while the actors spoke in Turkish.  I have described the play after I saw it on the occasion of the theatre festival.


On the evening of 19 January there was instantaneous applause on individual scenes, strong monologues, the words that hit and for the outstanding acting, and the audience stood up and would not stop to show their appreciation.  Being an outsider to the pain I saw them moved, emotions were washing over their faces, and it made my skin creep.  The Missing Persons is something that is on the surface of the Cypriot minds, their history, and they cannot find peace until the dead have come home to rest in peace.

There was a reception after the performance for the audience to be able to meet and talk, to meet the actors and the theatre team. It was a very positive gesture by a Cypriot for Cypriots.

It is planned to have the performance done with purely English subtitles, the venue is still in discussion. 

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