By Heidi Trautmann
Lefkoşa Municipality Theatre have again organized a theatre festival in September which has become an established and eagerly awaited extra theatre season in North Cyprus. Theatre has a debt to pay towards society, that is what Yaşar Ersoy, director of the Lefkosa Municipality Theatre, was saying to me when I interviewed him. To make good theatre and to invite good theatre groups into the country to give the audience the possibility to learn more about it.
It is the ninth festival this year and again good theatre companies were listed in the programme: Istanbul State Theatre, Trabzon State Theatre, Dostlar Theatre, Istanbul City Theatre, Ankara Sanat Theatre and Pera Theatre. Altogether 8 performances of all genres from September 6 until September 30.
I went to see the Trabzon Theatre with a satirical comedy Istibdat Kumpanyasi by Uğur Saatçi, a young playwright who had won a first prize in a writing competition. The writers guild ın Turkey, I read, is complaining that there are not enough good young writers; the young generation is interested in other things than writing, I heard the same complaints repeated in Cyprus. The play was directed by Bariş Erdenk and vice director Zeynep Ekin Öner who was also part of the cast.
It is about censorship executed by a government, here by Sultan Mehmed II. Abdul Hamid (1842-1918), when in 1876 media and theatre had to be conform with the dictation of the sultan and fear and frustration reigned in the country. Theatre was to show the welldoings of the governing Sultan, but there was one company, the Istibdat Kumpanyasi (The Absolutism Company), which ridiculed the play they were supposed to bring, in a French play with the long-nosed Cyrano de Bergerac.
Great actors: M.Fatih Dokgöz, Fatih Topçuoğlu, Zeynep Ekin Öner, Ufuk Şener, M.Ceyhun Cen, Şevki Çepa, Erşan Utku Ölmez, Duygu Dokgöz, Yavuz Topçuoğlu, Ömer Okutan, Nihat Biyik. In-between the scenes the actors were giving a musical summary as ballad singers of what it was all about: about resistance to despotism and censorship! Very good actors who enjoyed what they were doing and especially the dancing. How they shook their legs about in folklore style. There were many scenes which always ended with a dance and song interlude to the music group led by Engin Bayrak. I enjoyed it tremendously, especially the actors’ absolute abandon to their roles; their mimicry and body language was perfect.
The house of the Atatürk Conference Centre at the Near East University was fully booked with over 800 guests, it has around 700 seats and all the steps in-between the rows were occupied by young people.
There are five more plays to see, on Sep 19, 22, 23, 27 and 30. There are some plays I would love to go to but they are too text intensive for me with my restricted knowledge of the Turkish language. I would love to see Nereye Gidiyoruz, a one-man-piece by Aziz Nesin with Genco Erdal or on the last day the Tschechov play Vanya Dayi.
It was a full success again this year. Our thanks go to the Municipality Theatre and Yasar Ersoy for organising this event.
At the same time there were some one-week theatre workshops arranged with Yücel Erten from Ankara, and Prof. Dr. Özdemir Nutku and Prof. Dr. Hülya Nutku. Wonderful occasions for our young theatre people to learn about the state of the art.
We will from now on turn our attention to our local theatre again. They are preparing and rehearsing for the new season. See you there.