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  • Writer's pictureŞarkılara Mektuplar

Human warmth in corona days

You know, this Corona taught me something. To be close to a person, you do not have to be hand in hand, knee to knee, with him.

Hi Berincan,

I just came from northern Germany. First Bremen, then Plön and Lübeck. You are talking about the clouds you see when you look out of your window, you can watch the best clouds here...

A deep blue sky where a thousand and one kinds of clouds play in constant motion, fields of golden linen, gray green lakes and the deep blue north sea... And a vast plain... And of course, I'm wearing a wool sweater on a cold summer day, can you imagine?

The homeland of North Norbert... People who speak little but are affectionate... Care and attention in communication, no one is pushing or shouting at anyone, everyone follows the rules with great care in the days of Corona... I don't see the bananas in Cologne here. Prussian discipline? Maybe. You know I don't like rules, but it's good for me these days.

We had not taken a step further than Cologne and its immediate surroundings for months. Now I am enjoying the journey to the fullest. But the life here is different, Norbert's brothers and friends live in a quiet and lonely life. Corona has not affected them as much as we do. For example, Norbert's brother Herwart studied art and worked as an art teacher for many years... He lives in a village house around Hamburg, summer and winter. He reads in the morning and evening, walks the dog, and occasionally draws cartoons. As soon as I enter your house, I am overwhelmed by afflictions, I am so narrowed that how can a person live in such a dark and self-containing hole? Their ancestors must always be voles that lurk in the corner, mine are birds or fish. I mean, believe me, if I stayed there for a month, I would really go crazy. I think about how we live life differently, how different our feelings are. However, Herwart is a person close to me with his sincerity and good heart.

I think a person is a product of the geography in which he was born, grew up and grew up. Just like the plant. Not Herwart, Istanbul couldn't even last a week in Cologne... People in Istanbul, huh, noise, jostling, sun were all too much... Oh Berincim, while I was writing these to you, not only the heat of the south, but also the sea, but also the sea, which does not smell algae, is cold. How our salty sea catches my eye, not the north sea. Believe me, for the first time in half a century, I spend a summer without sea. Norbert says maybe we will go to Kayaköy in September, but believe me I don't have much hope.

Anyway, now we're back in Cologne, we ride a lot of bikes, we eat a lot of Italian ice cream, which is a must in the summer months, I meet my students and friends in the beer gardens, so I try to enjoy the summer months that are slowly ending here. If you come to Cologne, I will take you to the famous Engel ice cream parlor in Nippes, believe me, you will eat your fingers together. It's an incredible taste, and when you pour a liter of eggnog on top, you can't get enough of it. It's a calorie and cholesterol bomb. Eat it, then don't eat anything all day.

But even ice cream with liqueur can't comfort you enough, I've been stuck in Cologne for seven months... Istanbul is a dream for me right now. And of course, your situation is even worse, you want to be reunited with your mother as soon as possible. Actually, the idea of ​​​​going to Istanbul by car is not bad. When I was a child, we drove from Istanbul to Tübingen many times. Moreover, my mother always drove the car alone.

You know, this Corona taught me something. To be close to a person, you don't have to be hand in hand or knee to knee with them. You can be very close by keeping social distance, too... But you have to share something in common, only then the exchange of feelings and thoughts begins and there is a flow of energy between the two people. If this flow does not exist, be as close to a person as you want, yet there are gaps between you and him. I am experiencing this very intensely in the context of the project I am currently in, with many people I know and do not know. Sometimes I even forget that I only meet people in a digital environment. I always have the feeling of touching and hugging them.

I told you in my last letter to you that I started a digital theater project. I named it "Seven Women" (Variations). In this project, I tell the intertwined stories of seven women. As the writer and director of the project, I am conducting this together with a documentary filmmaker friend (Deniz Şengenç) and my friends who are theater and film actors who portray the characters. Each story I write about variations on the theme of violence against women takes half an hour. Every woman tells her own story by looking back from the point she has reached today. This is a project that mixes theater and video art. Of course, we will show it in the future, we are planning to show it as a series in a place like Blue TV.

We've been rehearsing for weeks with the actors. All via zoom. But believe me, I feel very close to the people I was with during these studies. It feels like if I reach out my hand, I will touch it. What a beautiful thing, how stimulating and exciting it is to laugh together, to worry, to be moved, to argue, to think.

You mention in your letter that you're acting, yes, this must be a very new and exciting experience for you too. But I think you've discovered something that's already inside you. We don't learn anything new at our seventies. I am directing for the first time in my life. But isn't it something that is always in me, both directing and acting? I became even more conscious of this while working with the actors. After working for a long time with reading rehearsals on a role, there comes a time when the actor has to internalize his role thoroughly. Realism is important in our project. In other words, it is the opposite of the epic acting that my teacher Bertolt Brecht advocates. The actor should tell the story as if it were real, so that the audience thinks the real stories are being told, despite the familiar faces like Berna Laçin or Tülay Günal in our project. That's what we're striving for. Some actors do this more easily, some have difficulties, those with film experience catch up with many things more quickly, others can easily escape into theatricality. It's not about good or bad acting, it's about experience. On the other hand, psychological factors can also be decisive. Some actors may have serious problems with the role they play, perhaps because the role is very close to them. How surprising and mysterious is the human soul... In this process, I discover this as well, and learn new things as I discover it.

The biggest surprise for me was the acting of Aysel Yıldırım, who portrayed a Kurdish woman. The character I wrote was much more restless, anxious and sad. Aysel brought a whole new dimension to the character by adding humorous elements. While watching, you laugh, get sad, get emotional and believe it, you want to hug him tightly. He excited me so much with his acting that I thought I could develop this character and turn it into a single player game. This is exactly what I call an exchange of feelings and thoughts.

Meanwhile, the roles have also shifted. Some came out, new ones came. I met Vahide Perçin in my search for an open role. He is a great actor who uses his face, eye expression, facial expressions and voice very well, says a lot with little, and captures the depths of the human soul, you probably know him from the TV series. I really wanted to win him for our project, I think he wanted it too, but my timing didn't work, she. I was so upset. Anyway, we met, what a lovely, warm and kind person, I think I've made a new friend.

Another setback was that we were about to go to rehearsals with another very good actor, but he gave up at the last minute. I'm not sure, but I think it was because of an argument in the group. The fact that Ozan Güven, whose acting I admire, turned his lover's face purple, and that the tabloids jumped on this issue as if it were an invaluable blessing, brought the issue of women and violence to the agenda. I also clearly found it very strange that the artists did not take a stand against Ozan. There is no such thing as "this is his specialty", there is no such thing as "what's wrong with me", because violence, especially domestic violence, violence against women is always political.

You know, there are many famous artists who tend to violence, Can Yücel, Özdemir Asaf and many more, this subject is always tabooed for some reason. I also think that it is important to have a discussion on this, moreover, we are in this very subject with our project on women and violence. But for some reason, even talking about them always bothers someone. I wrote an article examining the reasons for this for Cumhuriyet, which will be published in the Sunday supplement on August 26.

As we flee from the ugliness we experience, they will not disappear, on the contrary, they will become completely widespread. History is like that, Berinci. Of course, you can ignore things that don't work for you. But when you close your eyes, it doesn't disappear on its own. That is why I am very disturbed by ideologies that sculpt, distort and change history in their own way. Again, the Germans did not hesitate to confront their own history. Think about us.... But coming to terms with the past depends largely on being at peace with the present, isn't it?

I embrace you with love.


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