‘Wheel tracks / Tekerlek Izleri’ – Review by Heidi Trautmann
‘Wheel tracks / Tekerlek Izleri’ a stage play
A cooperation of Lefkoşa Municipality Theatre (LBT) and Cyprus Turkish Orthopaedic Disabled Association (KTOÖD)
By Heidi Trautmann…..
Deeply touched I left the Atatürk Cultural Centre in Nicosia after one of the last performances of the play ‘Tekerlek Izleri/Wheel tracks’ that was widely talked of for the last months. The play is based on the text by Orkun Bozkurt and Aysan Özcezarlı written in memoriam of Mustafa Çelik, the former president of the KTOÖD who died in 2011 of heart failure. Orkun Bozkurt who has taken over the presidency has never forgotten his teacher, friend, father, for the hope and courage he has given to many who were bound to the wheelchair.
Whenever I went to a play at the LBT I saw Orkun Bozkurt in his wheelchair next to the stage; he loves theatre. He has published several books, the last one being a poetry book with poems by himself and Mustafa Çelik; I got one copy signed by him, see my text on my website by clicking here.
In cooperation with Yaşar Ersoy he developed the idea for a play showing the life of a disabled person bound to the wheelchair, showing the immense difficulties such people face in society, in normal day to day situations, dealing with authorities and so forth. Also, the situations they find themselves in due to the ignorance of society, the insecurity and unintentional heartlessness and thoughtlessness due to lack of information. Plenty of scenes about these facts of a disabled life that they have discussed over months were brought onto stage, and as I learnt from a LBT member, they had often called each other by phone even in the middle of night to discuss another point of interest during the creation of the play.
Yaşar Ersoy, who directed the play, and the entire team of LBT moved to the stage of the Atatürk Cultural Centre and started to rehearse together with members of the KTOÖD.
During the entire duration of the play eight wheelchair bound persons were on stage as silent actors and in some scenes were coming forward as a whole body to shout into the audience their appeal to society… a very strong appearance.
The actors and actresses got passionately involved and in many scenes the actual dramatic presentation of a life in a wheelchair were exaggerated to the point of comedy so spontaneous applause was given by the audience and in-spite of the sad facts that were uncovered laughter sat very close to tears in many throats.
A big thank you to the professional team of LBT and a big thank you to Orkun Bozkurt and his friends in wheelchairs that showed us so frankly scenes of their lives. I am sure that the play opened many doors for a better understanding not only in the rooms of authorities but to the hearts of us ordinary people, and on this occasion also a big thank you to those who are caring and working for the interest of disabled people.
I hope that this play will make a tour of the island and from here to other countries because the people in wheelchairs and with other disabilities are a big part of our society worldwide and it might concern us one day.
I found some quotes by Orkun Bozkurt which touched me deeply:
– ‘Mustafa Çelik was my teacher, my brother, my father, my friend. He taught me how to stand up for myself and be proud of who I am, even though, I remain in a wheelchair. He taught me how to struggle and survive’.
– ‘Our fight is to let us be recognized by our personality, not by our disability.’
– ‘Unfortunately, it is the “normal” people who disable the disabled like me.’
For more information Orkun Bozkurt’s website click here and my text on the presentation of Sevcan Cerkez’s statue of Mustafa Çelik click here
There will be another opportunity to see further presentations of ‘Wheel tracks / Tekerlek Izleri’ on the 1st, 10th and 11th December 2015 at the Ataturk Kűltűr Merkezi, Lefkoşa, all performances start at 8pm and ticket reservations can be made by calling 0392 227 8782.