Heidi Trautmann

1055: Mother of Sadness and her Children 8000 years of Cyprus Destiny in the Mirror of Theatre

By Heidi Trautmann


On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founders of the Lefkosa Belediye Tiyatrosu  - LBT – Nicosia Municipality Theatre - Yaşar Ersoy, Erol Refikoğlu, Işın Cem and Osman Alkaş, a new play was released by the Nicosia Municipality Theatre. The première was on Friday March 22, 2019 and is on the repertoire for the current season on Fridays and Saturdays.

It is a play in the best tradition of theatre, it is an appeal to the public by confronting them with a mirror, the mirror of the theatre.

Yaşar Ersoy, the grey Eminence of the theatre, has adapted four poetry books by Fikret Demirağ, for the stage, a poet I highly appreciate; I interviewed him in 2009 and saw him last in January 2010; he died in November of the same year of a weak heart.  Fikret Demirağ was with the theatre from the very beginning and his poetry was used as the base in many plays.  At the bottom of the page some of his poems from ‘Hüzün Ana/Mother Sorrow (1992).


8000 years of great upheavals and invasions, abuse, piracy, exploitation, of sadness and sufferings to the very today.  The tragedy of a people… but somehow, we get the mirror held in our face….

Two poets sit down with sorrow and try to find answers to their questions for their poetry and they approach Mother Earth who is asleep, but she wakes up in the form of three women, clad in the colour of earth, in front of the symbol of the goddess, and they lead us through all periods of the past, and each period is written down by the poets as a legacy for us. The poets played by Yaşar Ersoy and Erol Refikoğlu and the three Mother Earth women played by Özgür Oktay, Döndü Özata and Melihat Melis Beşe.

The answers given in the pure language of drama, the terror and pain shown with full body and voice and yet, the answers cause further questions by the poets until at the end Mother Earth holds the mirror into the face of them, and finally the mirrors are thus moved around that the audience is reflected in the mirror with the command: Find your own language, take over your responsibilities and discover your rights, compose and sing your own song.

A wonderful and moving play. A great set design.

Please find the cast list attached…






     I’ve reached the age of death, shivering in my doorway;

     Taking away my son, my dearest, it was the summer of my life                                        

     Guns separated us; our life is in utter darkness.

     I had brought him up like a young olive sapling;

     all traces of him have vanished, time has eroded everything.

     I’ve reached the age of death, weeping in my doorway.


     I lit candles, had my fortune read and dried olive leaves;

     the candles went out, the leaves have all dried; but for whom

                                       should they ward off evil spirits?

     As if falling into a deep well, I fell into deep grief

     The sound of bells and calls for prayers are like sounds from

                                       another world.

     My last summer is drawing to a close; I am like a place in ruins!


 I’ve reached the age of death, my heart is like a desolate plain.


 I cannot hope for, nor can I expect, a miracle

    about my sapling for whom I used to knit fair-isle pullovers

    (had he been coming, I would have strewn myrtle leaves

                                                       in his path!)

    I am now a vine bearing no grapes, an apricot tree  bearing                  

                                                       no fruit!

    I am a mother, mad with grief, and I cry in my doorway.



    My body is overwhelmed with winter compassion,

             and my inner being with the melancholy of late summer.


   So many high ranking officers and earth-shattering military bands

    passed me by, while I was oppressed by the burden of my pain,

                                   my womanhood has no meaning any more!

    What I want to find is a branch, a little branch blossoming with peace;

     just to look at it before I leave this place.


     I am standing in my doorway, inside me the endlessness of late summer.

Nicosia, 14. 12. 1986




                         To poet Petros Sofas


We have to find somehow

a Cyprus cognac

and put a table in front of the door –

Maybe many things will change (will they?)

when the boy selling jasmine

returns to the streets –

He would have grown up by now

and has either forgotten his childhood,

or fell in the war

that boy selling jasmine years ago.


Let’s find a vineyard

on the cliffs of sorrow overlooking the sea,

let’s prepare replies to its questions together;

let’s find an answer to the difficult question of

how our friendly hands were estranged years ago –

The mountains too are asking this,

And the same question is being asked by

our children.



Long ago there was a poem

which used to flap its wings between us;

it was silent, wordless and flying –

We should do everything in our power

                                    to find it.

Maybe it is hidden among the bushes

like a wounded partridge.

It might wait years for

its wounds to recover, or it may be waiting

to die.

In its solitude it might be trying to sing

in a weak and frightened voice.


Something between us

took flight long ago,

we should do everything in our power

                                    to find it.    


                                                     Nicosia, 5. 11. 1986





Zoë, who lost her son in the war,

I hope your black headscarf

is decorated with spring flowers

the colour of hope, love and grief,

strip off the colour of revenge

and assume the look of a wise woman,

the past bloody days ought to be free from all

   grudge, leaving behind only a trace of grief.


                    No matter how far are you

                    from your former next door neighbour,

                    call her:


                     -Where are you idonisa?*

                     -I am here!




Our neighbour, dear Sherife,

you also, vanquish your grudge and anger,

you also, call your former neighbour;

Look! The flower in the courtyard of the Buffer Zone

(watered by the UN soldiers)

keep blossoming for years of us!


Now is the time to call on your neighbour Zoë,

Look, the flowers of spring have bloomed

                                                once again with hope:



                                  -Where are you neighbour?

                                  - I am here!



Your hearts should overcome

                 their suspicion,

for the sake of passing time

and days yet to be lived.


Nicosia, 1987






You old woman in black! Where are you going

with your sad face, like someone from the Bible;

where are you going ,

as if at a church service, singing hymns?


Like someone from the Bible, with your sad face

And black clothes, old woman, where are you going,

As if at a church service, singing hymns?


Are you going to sed tears for your dead ones?


Here is also a mourning Turkish mother;

she is going to wrap a green cloth

around the tomb of an unknown saint!


We have to plough our little land

with your son Nicos,

before we can sow the wheat of peace in our homeland!


What we need are songs full of life’s lessons.

                                                Nicosia, 4. 9. 1987



Fikret Demirag and his theatre friends decades ago (from the book by Hakan Cakmak)
Fikret Demirag and his theatre friends decades ago (from the book by Hakan Cakmak)

The cozy Foyer of the Nicosia Municipality Theatre
The cozy Foyer of the Nicosia Municipality Theatre


Cast Sheet
Cast Sheet

Yasar Ersoy, dramaturg and director
Yasar Ersoy, dramaturg and director

The representatives of Mother Earth: fm left: Döndü Özata, Özgür Oktay, Melihat Melis Beşe
The representatives of Mother Earth: fm left: Döndü Özata, Özgür Oktay, Melihat Melis Beşe

One poet: Erol Refikoğlu
One poet: Erol Refikoğlu
















See yourself in the mirror of the theatre
See yourself in the mirror of the theatre

Audience/Society in the mirror of the theatre
Audience/Society in the mirror of the theatre


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