Review of the play and interview with Aliye Ummanel, Art Director of LBT
new play – a new way – a new understanding of theatre – theatre at its purest
form. When I attended the performance on November 21 with friends, I sat back
thinking of a biography I once read ‘Jean-Louis Barrault and the Total
Theatre’, he, the great French actor, director and mime and his wife Madeleine
Renault who founded their own theatre company.
me start with this Bandabuliya Sahnesi/Stage, so sensitively renovated, so
economically, so the deeper meaning of theatre comes to the surface; the
building being in the heart of Old Nicosia, a very sensitive area itself. The stage and the costumes, the work of the
theatre designer and her crew, Özlem Yetkili, the closeness to the audience all
that appeals to me. It does not matter where the stage is, how big and
beautiful, it could be in the barn of a remote sheep farm, it is the play and
it is the enthusiasm of the theatre company, its director and its actors and
the cooperation among them. I saw it again with this new play and I was deeply
satisfied. The choreography and music done and arranged by Osman Ateş, so well
done and coordinated with the special effects and lighting, and the acting team
seemed to enjoy themselves besides the duty to entertain the audience. Each single
body and face showed own emotions; the actors’ facial traits and each limb of
their body were in action, their eyes rolled and their breast and throat were
open for their voices, for the lyrics, and the entire rainbow of emotions were
on display. Total theatre.
want to thank them all, Artistic Director of the company and Dramaturg of the
play: Aliye Ummanel; Director:Yiğit Sertdemir; Choreography and Music Composed
by Osman Ateş; Music Arranged by Cahit
Kutrafalı; décor and costume designed by Özlem Yetkili; Poster design: Umut
Ersoy; Assistant director: Burçin Yel; Lighting designed by Fırat Eseri,
Lighting: Salih Kanatlı, Special effects: Mehmet Eseri, Décor works: Mehmet
Demir, Şükrü Demir and Ergün Demir. The actors: Deniz Çakır, Bariş Refikoğlu,
Aytunç Şabanlı, Osman Ateş, Özgür Oktay, Döndü Özata, Hatice Tezcan, Izel
Seylani, Asu Demircioğlu, Cem Aykut, Melihat Meliş Beşe, Melek Erdil, Umut
Ersoy, Havva Güleş. Orchestra: Hüseyin Kırmızı, Ali Suyolcu and Behiç Anibal.
story of the play and its background story… I had to approach Aliye Ummanel for
it, because I could not find the title among the plays written by Anton Chekov.
She, in her role as artistic director of the company and the dramaturg of the
play, doing the basic research, the infrastructure of a play up to the final
script, was so very kind to instruct me:
“The director of the play is Yiğit Sertdemir
and this story is created by him. Yiğit and I wanted to make a play that
related to our reality. I told him about the Varosha/Maraş story. And we ended
on themes like "lost possibilities" and "to resist
The main body of the play is based on Anton
Chekov's short plays: The Marriage Proposal, the Bear, a Tragedian Inspite of
Himself, and The Wedding. We also had parts from The Harmful Effects of Tobacco
and the Swan Song. The story goes like this:
The title of the
play is "The Ghost Company". In Turkish, as you know, it is
"Hayalet Kumpanya" and "Hayalet" means ghost but in
addition to that "hayal et!" means "dream!"
(Deniz) is the only survivor of an explosion (bomb) 45 years ago in which the
whole company of actors were killed. She was late to that first day of the
rehearsals for a new play "A Cabaret". In the beginning of the play,
in her monologue, we learn that since the bombing (for 45 years) she comes to
the theatre every year to meet her friends and to continue the rehearsal.
Now this is the last
day of rehearsals and they will be doing the final scene as well, in which she has
a small part. In her monologue, before inviting her friends, she says
"What is death anyway when the story goes on? You must believe, dream."
appear and they finish the play. After
the final scene it is time to leave and that means for the prompter that this
is the last time they will meet. But she asks for one last meeting the next
year claiming that she needs to rehearse more. The company agrees. And so the
story goes on and the gate to death is pushed farther ahead.
asked Aliye about the new approach and my feelings about it. She gave me a
glimpse into her vision of theatre and her vision for the LBT, the Lefkoşa
of this play was very important for me as the artistic director of the Nicosia
Turkish Municipal Theatre. My idea was to have a good guest theatre director,
and we had him with Yiğit Sertdemir. A chance for all of us in our company, the
directors, actors, designers, technicians, even audience, to develop ourselves,
to question ourselves… to work with a different director who had a different
approach, also for me it was a chance, as Yiğit is also a playwright and has his
own way of dealing with text; a fresh experience, which is the basic necessity
for improving, which will get us out of our comfort zone, it will enliven us
all, even the audience.
I am happy that
I could realize it with the new play and I am happy with the result.”
told her that I, and as I could see the audience as well, was equally happy.
What about the future, what are the plans for the season:
“We have just had the premiere of a new
children play ‘Tilki ile Kirpi’ (for ages 4-7). Hatice Tezcan wrote and
directed it. We will perform it at our theatre, a matiné performance, twice a
week. Furthermore we are planning to have the premiere of a new play at the end
of January that will be performed in our theatre as well. So, in February, LBT
Nicosia Turkish Municipal Theatre will be performing four plays on both stages
within one and the same month. On the Bandabuliya Stage we continue to have the
Karagöz Shadow Theatre and the current Hayalet Kumpanya with its specially
designed décor and will host the Lefkoşa Belediye Orchestra for concerts and
eventually other theatre groups from time to time.”
attached is a fresh poster with all the plays for the month of December 2018).
I thanked Aliye
Ummanel and wished her and the whole LBT Team success with their future plans.
This very centre of Nicosia has during the last few years experienced a
considerable transformation and we are all very grateful for it.