Istanbul to stage story of legendary aviator

Istanbul to stage story of legendary aviator

Istanbul to stage story of legendary aviator

The Istanbul State Theaters (IDT) has adapted the story of the legendary Ottoman aviator Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi in a play.  

Director Hakan Çimenser said the play focuses on Çelebi’s passion for flying. The aviator reportedly flew across the Bosphorus Strait from Istanbul’s Galata Tower in the 17th century with a pair of bird-like wings.

Hezerfen’s story will be told in the play titled “Flying: Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi” at the Mecidiyekoy Büyük Sahne.

Ömer F. Oyal wrote the two-act play, which focuses on the memoir of the 17th-century Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi.

Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency about the play, Çimenser said they rehearsed the play for two months.

Pointing out the history of the Anatolian people, Çimenser said, “We can tell their stories better in such dramatic arts. This process is faster than reading. Theater, cinema or TV series can make this function. What is important is to be sensitive. Everyone can make different comments about historical facts, but it is important to tell these facts in the truest way.”

As for the goal of the play, Çimenser said, “When we attend any festival around the world, the most asked question is ‘Where is your story?’ And then we asked, ‘Really, what is our story?’ Can we really tell our story to the world with the aesthetics of theater? This is our goal to realize it.”

He said that Hezarfen succeeded in flying even though people around him did not believe him, adding that they wanted to tell this fact to the world as accurately as possible.

He said that the stories telling “us” would continue in the state theaters, and added, “We have a long process to turn this project into a trilogy. There are stories that we will tell from our own people and past.”

Çimenser pointed out that the stories of Hezarfen and Lagari Hasan Çelebi, another Ottoman aviator who allegedly flew a manned rocket in the 17th century, were told according to Evliya Çelebi’s account.
“We wanted to dream about their lives. What did they go through? Why did they want such a thing? Why did they have such passion? We want to explain this,” he added.

Turning into a mythological character

Deputy director of the play, Ezgi Yentürk Çimenser said that they were searching for a new narration method, and that they tried to mix visual design, Anatolian motifs, a story of passion, the traditional and the modern in the play.

“Some historians claim that Hezarfen did not live, and some say, ‘he lived but with a different name.’ There is various information about him. But it is not important to us; we want to show his passion as he turned into a mythological hero.”

The play casts Tolga Evren, Emir Çicek and Fikret Urucu in the leading roles.

Although Hezarfen and Lagari, reportedly brothers, are mentioned in Evliya Çelebi’s memoir, there are no official documents about their lives.