Belediye Tiyatrosu (LBT) with the new play ‘Halktan Biri (One (man) of
the people) by Sam Bobrick adapted by Yaşar Ersoy
By Heidi Trautmann
There are many moments when I regret of
not being able to speak properly Turkish and the evening of the première was
one of it; I was annoyed with myself that I could not follow the dialogue on
stage, so I had to rely on my visual impressions and I did that with all my
senses switched to high sensitivity. I had prepared myself by reading all about the play written by Sam
Bobrick who once said that he wrote the
play at the beginning of George W. Bush’ second term when he could no longer
tolerate his arrogance, dishonesty, ineptness and contempt for the common man. I also learnt that the play was translated
into Turkish by Ekin Tunçay Turan, and often on stage, a political comedy about
a tragic topic, the crimes of persons in government with one simple person
fighting it in his/her own way. The original play is with two characters, two men, Travis Pine a common citizen and his
counterpart, an FDA agent. The present play had been adapted by Yasar Ersoy, he
replaced the man Travis Pine by a woman and the one agent by four agents,
however the play as such was in its main outline the same, except for some
amendments around Cypriot matters. He
also directed the play, assisted by Nehir Demirel.
A political comedy, a most favourite
playground of Yasar Ersoy and the LBT, as he believes in the important role of
the theatre as educational tool, as a mirror for society, an eye opener on
misdoings and misbehaving of political figures elected by the people, followed
by the assumption that the people have not only the right but also the
obligation to criticize the persons they have elected. That is democracy.
On the evening of the première Yasar
Ersoy entered the stage welcoming the guests, among them were the Mayor of
Nicosia, Mehmet Harmancı and the family of the actor Yücel Köseoğlu who died
three years ago and to whom the evening was dedicated; a man who was much
appreciated for his work and who was once a ‘Halktan Biri’. He handed over to
his wife a plaquette in his honour. Another guest was the director of the
Sartirigo Theatre in Nicosia South, Kostas Kafkarides, where not so long ago Aliye Ummanel’s play
‘Kayip’ was staged with English and Greek subtitles. A good cooperation of long
standing between the two houses.
The plot is of a citizen, in this case a
woman, an unemployed disillusioned
citizen, very disappointed by the U.S. government. In order to channel her fury she bombards the
President with numberless letters criticizing him for his bad work; a simple
woman living or rather vegetating in her run down house, with the only interest
in her life to write letters to the President which is shown by a symbolic act,
by darting arrows at a dart board decorated with the heads of political figures.
The woman is played by Özgür Oktay. Superb.
It is a role tailor-made for her. In a simple housewifely sloppy way she is
that woman, right down to her fingertips and toes. Now, FDA has closed in on
this writer of letters and they knock at the door of this poor hut of the poor
woman who will not stop her harassment of the president and they start the job
to seduce, persuade her with all kind of means, with promises and threats, to
stop writing these letters. A sort of trust and friendship develops in the
course of the arguments, but alas, she will not give in and she pays back in
the same but surprising way as FDA is trying to stop her.
In the current play, the originally one
FDA agent is replaced by four agents, and these are played by Döndü Özata, Osman Ateş, Melihat Melis Beşe and
Umut Ersoy. They move in unison, dressed
in the same outfit, moving in the same synchronic way, people of one mind; a
very good choreography developed by Osman Ateş. They are a team. By introducing
four FDA agents, Yaşar has augmented the power exercised onto a female
opponent; at the same time drawing the attention and sympathy onto the
apparently weak woman. Don’t let
yourself be deceived. And the woman continues to throw sharp dart arrows onto
the board with the faces of politicians.....
design by Özlem Deniz Yetkili and her team Riza Sen (stage realisation) and
Mehmet Eseri (special effects) supported the plot well, supported the movements
with furniture on wheels; there was action on stage in all dimensions. The toothed wheels in the background as a
symbol of the governmental machine in
which you get caught if you don’t pay attention. I like the idea of having the props of a stage
take on roles together with the acting figures, to include them into the play,
to express feelings such as fury, helplessness or disgust. A language in itself.
work again by the LBT team, my congratulations, a great work that should also
find its audience among the English speaking theatre lovers, although it is
quite true that you recognise good theatre also without understanding the dialogues,
but it would be more inviting if English speaking guests could at least have an
idea of the plot together with the programme.