May 31, 2023

“YAFTALI TABUT / The labeled Coffin” by the playwright Bilgesu Erenus

By Heidi Trautmann….

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The Istanbul Şehir Theatre came to Cyprus to take part in our theatre festival. We found again an excited audience and with great pleasure, I realised that there were mostly young people attending the play on 6th September at the Lefkoşa’da Sahne /Nicosia Stage.

For the first time, we have the festival in the newly founded theatre which has approximately 500 seats available, and they were all taken.

A remarkable play written by a woman – Belgesu Erenus – about the first female playwright in Turkey – Fatma Nudiye Yalçı – and played by seven women – Bensu Orhunöz, Ceren Hacımuratoğlu, Lale Kabul, Nazan Yatgın Palabıyık, Selin Türkmen, Şenay Bağ, Yeşim Mazıcıoğlu – and even the male roles were played by them.

The play is about the life of Fatma Nudiye Yalçı, born in Istanbul in 1904, the first female playwright of Turkey, socialist, activist, and a pioneer in all areas of social and political life, whose name we can come across in the footnotes of history. For her work and activities, she spent 10 years in prison. There is more information to be found about her life on the internet which shows us the hardships women standing up and were going through in the first half of last century.

The choreography and realisation of the play was very interesting; all persons were present on stage throughout the play, just retired out of light when not in the scene. It was presented as a sort of documentation. The main figure was played by several actresses, according to the passing of time, recognizable by wearing a red emblem. Changing of costumes was done on stage.

A very impressive work and it is good to be remembered of the hardships women in those days went through. It made me think of my own grandmother, born in 1892, who as a young woman started her life as a writer. Also the life story of the playwright of this play – Belgesu Erenus – is most interesting to read, she has written many books and plays and I am sure that the knowledge she has put into the play has been gained through her own experiences.

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