The photo is taken by the author
The play which is named “Yaşasın Demokrasi (Long Live Democracy)” is the first storybook of the famous writer Haldun Taner. As an audience who had the opportunity to see the theatre version of the book from the magnificent view of Ali Eyidoğan, I am planning to read the book version as soon as possible. Before talking about the piece, let’s look at the writer, Haldun Taner.
Who’s Haldun Taner?
Haldun Taner was born on 16 March 1915 in Istanbul and completed high school at Galatasaray High School (known as “Galatasaray Sultanisi” at that period). After losing his father at age five, Taner started to live with his mother in his grandfather’s mansion. For college, he went to the Heidelburg University in Germany to major in politics but in 1938 he got tuberculosis and left the school. Later, as an intellectual who supported the total independence of Türkiye, he finished German Philology at Istanbul University in 1950. After college, he worked as an assistant at the Chair of Art History, in the same college. At that time, he had a passion for the art of theatre and wrote a piece named “Günün Adamı (Man of the Day)”, but this play was banned from all the Istanbul Municipal Theaters because of its harmful political interests subject.
Taner is also a famous story writer and even has a championship award from a competition that was organized by New York Herald Tribune in 1953. Taner, the one who got awarded by the “Varlık” magazine as “the best story writer of the year” in 1956, also worked on theatre, and even in his first pieces, he was writing successful examples of dramatical theatre. After that, Taner made his way to the epic theater and got worldwide attention with his first epic theater example, "Keşanlı Ali Destanı".
However, although he has always been so successful in the theater industry, today we will talk about his first book, "Yaşasın Demokrasi (Long live Democracy)".
Although I was able to watch this piece at the Istanbul Theatre Festival, the piece is one of the plays of Eskişehir Municipal Theaters, and the premiere date was 15 October 2022. In my opinion, to understand this musical comedy, we must know the back story of the director.
Who's Ali Eyidoğan?
Born in 1981 in Salzgitter, Ali Eyidoğan is a German citizen of Turkish origin. He graduated in 2003 from Anadolu University National Conservatory and started to work at Eskişehir Municipal Theaters. Since 2005, he has been playing in some children’s plays. He also directed some Pantomime plays. Besides, he played in a new version of the famous Turkish theatre “Lüküs Hayat”.
About the Play:
I believe that Eyidoğan reflected his visions which passed through his mind; the movements of the characters were keeping the scene alive continuously. Ali Eyidoğan, who also had a role on the stage, used the power of music and dance efficiently. Characters were running frequently and regularly just like clockwork. The clocks started working, then they moved, and finally, they died because of their batteries. And this circulation started all over again throughout the play. Just like humanity! Maybe that was the reason why Eyidoğan started the piece with a scene of theater performers who had already finished their performances. Although it is a musical comedy, the allusions in the piece about democracy and today’s way of life made me lose my sense of reality. It felt like the play tried to be a bridge between the past, the present, and the future, and it broke this bridge into small pieces in front of our eyes without mercy. While watching this play, we can easily think about the dark pages of democracy and politics. With this game, Eyidoğan pretends to glorify basic stereotypes in politics, but in fact, he criticizes these stereotypes in a subtle way. Although the play makes democracy fall into disfavor; at last, you just want to scream: “Long live democracy!”
The play, which touches on justice, makes us realize that the judicial system does not function as it has to, and the population is separated with a curious language.
With these qualities, this play is totally a social criticism! In our daily lives, we are separated as “the ones who do have the authority and the ones who don’t”; for example, in classrooms, teachers have the authority while in shopping malls, the clients do. And in a country, the prime minister has the power. We all are valued as much as our authority in society; it is our fate!
But when we talk about arts, it is a little bit different. Being a prime minister, director, rich or poor does not matter at all! After the lights are off, the time of the artists begins. Now it is the artists who have authority! Now the power belongs to the passion of art.
That is why art is the most important value of a nation. Eyidoğan, taking this ideology as the base, placed the powerful characters upstairs. By looking at the one who is at the top, we can understand who controls the actions of other characters. Maybe that is why Eyidoğan has decided to change the place of the characters frequently. You can find all of the answers to these questions in the piece named “Yaşasın Demokrasi”. Who knows, maybe your answers will be completely different. The only thing that we know by heart is that time is always moving forward; tick tack, tick tack, tick tack…
About Haldun Taner:
About Ali Eyidoğan:
About the play: