By Heidi Trautmann
“Passa Tempo” is a play written by Aliye Ummanel, dramaturg at the Nicosia Municipality Theatre. It was first staged in Paris in November on the occasion of the Turkish Days, an event of seven days at the Maison d’Europe et d’Orient Art Centre. It is a two-person piece played by Deniz Çakır and Osman Ateş, two wonderful actors, and directed by Aliye Ummanel herself
“Passa Tempo” is about the present influences of a past war on a family. It narrates the story of a mother and her son who was wounded before his birth and the illusion of a father lost in the war. It presents a part of the life of people who are stuck between past and future and discusses the conflict between two generations: the one which actually experienced the war and the one which did not but somehow still suffers from its effects.
War had ended years before, but its impact is still palpable. And despite the passing of years, not even those who escaped the experience are immune to its influence. The past is like a wall obstructing the future. The present is tainted by the shadow of the past and the uncertainty of future. The play discusses the different effects of the times over different people.
Is a war actually over when it has ended?
A question which is still alive in Cyprus today.
I learnt that the Cypriot Greek Embassy in Paris had made strenuous efforts to prevent the Turkish Cypriot theatre group from taking part in the Turkish Days. But their efforts were in vain; not even their demonstrations in front of the theatre on the day of the performance could prevent it from happening. The art director of the centre and Aliye Ummanel, the director, went to meet the protesters outside the building and talked to them. Some of those – it was discovered during the talks – had never been to North Cyprus since 1974, having spent all their lives in Paris. Then when the play had started, some of the protesters were talked into entering the theatre to see the play. Aliye said: “My play is not a cry of protest, it is meant to be a call for peace.” In the end, the play was applauded enthusiastically by the Parisian audience. I would call this a diplomatic victory of humanism over prejudice.
“Passa Tempo” will soon be staged in the “Lefkosa Belediye Tiyatro” (Nicosia Municipality Theatre) in Kücük Kaymaklı with the same cast; the music is by Mehmet Atun, the stage design by Özlem Yetkili. I will watch out for dates of the performances.
At present, the programme is repeating last year’s most enjoyable play “The Birthday Party”. If you want to learn more about this, check under No. 23 and 23a on my website www.heiditrautmann.com under art news archive.
For further details about the theatre, click on the following: