02-30 September 2014
By Heidi Trautmann
The final curtain for the 12th North
Cyprus Theatre Festival fell on 30 September at the theatre house of the Near
East University and I am so very sorry that I have not been able to be present,
although I had a press card for the plays. It is for the first time that I had
to miss this wonderful event for health reasons……except one play which was part
of the Festival, the play KAYIP written by Aliye Ummanel, dramaturg of the
Lefkosa Belediye Tiyatrosu with performances on two days, namely 15 and 16
September at the Municipality Theatre itself in Lefkosa. The other play by the
LBT, the Nicosia Municipality Theatre was KIBRIS Rumca Küstüm, Türkce Kirildim
based on Faize Özdemirciler’s poems. I have seen the play with Yasar Ersoy some
months before in its première, a very touching performance. http://www.heiditrautmann.com/category.aspx?CID=7723673854#.VDdTcWeSzg8
Altogether 10 plays were brought onto stage for the
occasion of the festival by six theatre companies including our own LBT; the
theatre companies from Turkey were – in order of their appearance: Tiyatro Adam
with a play by Brecht; Oyun Atölyesi with a play by Edward Albee; Istanbul Şehir
Tiyatrolari with plays by Hagop Baronyan and Fehime Seven; Talimhane Tiyatrosu
with a play by Henrik Ibsen, Istanbul Devlet Tiyatrosu with plays by Hanoch
Levin and W. Shakespeare; and Tiyatro AŞHK with a play by Carole Frechette.
The Festival was made possible again by the excellent
organisation by the LBT equip and with the support of not only the Municipality
and its new mayor Mehmet Harmanci but
also thanks to the financial support by companies and organisations who believe
in the necessity of theatre and its
important influence on society, the main sponsor was Malpas Hotel, Platinum
sponsor was K-Pet and the Near East University in Nicosia granted the use of
the theatre house as they have done in the last years. A fine show of
cooperation and support for the performing arts.
I would like to comment on the play KAYIP I have
seen myself; it has touched me very much. It is a play written by our Aliye
Ummanel. Some years ago I have also seen her other play ‘Passatempo’ and in a
sense the two plays are connected. http://www.heiditrautmann.com/category.aspx?CID=6456767723#.VDigpmeSzg8
KAYIP – The Missing
“the man of my land was missing
we knew his location but he was missing
to call the dead whose location is known, missing,
Aliye Ummanel/When the Dream Falls to the Night
“My mind on that wretched Hamlet in his hand
A hollow skull.”
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar/The Dead
In KAYIP arise questions about life and death, the
frailty of life, our existence, influenced or rather interrupted from the
outside such as by a war; because interrupted it is, there is always a break which
results in the self-inflicted loss of memory, in traumas, in all kind of
emotional reactions even suppression, in a complete change of life and
behaviour. This is the situation in the
new play KAYIP – The Missing: an old grandfather having closed the door to his
memories; a woman who is faced all of a sudden with the question: what was your
husband like….and she searches for proofs in boxes, in her brain and heart, so
many things she does not remember, on which hand was his finger broken. Then,
the son who grew up more or less unconcerned and lacks experience and
understanding, he just lives his life when suddenly those questions that enter
the scene from outside, posed by a comité of the missing persons, are staring into his face. There is a skull, a
theatre prop, he is carrying to and fro from his home and the theatre he is
engaged with for the play they are rehearsing, for HAMLET, and the theatre
director shakes the actors awake, the actors rehearsing the scene of Ophelia’s
burial with the question: ‘What do you know about death and life? Nothing!’
Have you ever thought what this play is about?
Have you ever thought, what this man is talking about? Did you understand what he’s talking
about? We are walking on bones, he says,
who once were people. “The bones which
were human” he says, do you understand?
“Here’s fine revolution,” he says for these seeing eyes! Once one sees such a thing, once one
understands this, one can only look at the world differently, he says!
There is the question all through the play,
pronounced by the son: is it good to continue to keep the door open or is it
better to close it and start afresh? The
missing father though is always present in the house of the family, a shadow
trying to get home in their minds, to be buried in a place where they can go to
The actors in the play were Hatice Tezcan, Erol
Refikoğlu Osman Ateş, Erdoğan Kavaz and Izel Seylani; Aliye Ummanel directed
the play herself and the assistants were Melek Erdil and Kymet Karabiber. There were great moving monologue scenes by
the leading roles, especially when the father shouted: ‘Where were you when we
Grandfather: You didn’t come, you. We waited.
The children. They’ve gone. They will come, they said. The UN Peace Keeping Force will come to the
village. We sent a message. We called them.
Introducing the burial scene of Hamlet, Aliye had in
mind, I think, to put the question up
for discussion as an ever recurring question, all placed one day within the
framework of a very usual day of a very common family with a young son growing
up doing his step into adulthood when he learns about the frailty of existence
on two levels.
And then the burial of the missing when the family
finally closes the door and the woman says:
‘I… as though I’ve walked a really long road. That road has come to an
end… I am crying like this but the road is missing.’
And the son who says that he feels grown-up now, and
grandfather remembers the hand which had the broken finger, and he promises his
grandson to come to the play…..And they sit for a while in silence.
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once:
how the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it
Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! It
might be the pate of a politician, which this
now o'er-reaches; one that would circumvent
might it not?
takes the skull: Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio –a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times;
and now, how abhorred my imagination is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those
lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now, your
gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table
on a roar? Not one now... Not one now?
A soft-spoken piece, showing the drama of a missing person
for a family, for those who were present when they lost the missing and for the
son, the after-war generation, who begins to understand that it is important to
bury the dead in a place known to them.
Aliye Ummanel has picked up a theme which is of
great importance to the people of Cyprus, however, a theme of worldwide concern
and she uses simple words in the dialogues and monologues and leaves the great
words of tragedy to Hamlet. My sincere
congratulations, Aliye Ummanel!
The play at the opening was in Turkish. Aliye
Ummanel has the play translated now into English and Greek. She has plans to
show the play to a non-Turkish speaking audience. I have read the play in
English, a translation by Aydin Mehmet Ali, writer and expert translator of
Cyprioturkish poetry, she has done a great job here.
We shall inform you when a performance in English or
Greek is to be shown.