a co-production of fringe ensemble Bonn and Balat Monolog Museum, Istanbul

Text Sami Özbutak
by Frank Heuel
Room/Costumes Annika Ley
With Hümay Guldag, Tara Haçıkoğlu, Tuğçe Altuğ
Assistance: Erçe Kardaş

Staged reading: May 20, 2019
Balat Mahalessi Tevkii Cafer Mektebi Sokak No:10 Fatih/Istanbul
open air / in Turkish language

YEL tells the story of a mother and her daughter who take care of an Orthodox church. There are many such churches in Istanbul that bear witness to the history of the Greek population in Istanbul. Nowadays, only a few Greeks still live in the metropolis on the Bosporus. Some of the remaining families take care of the churches, the associated garden and perform guard duties. These families experience “interesting” things in a Muslim-dominated country. Many of the stories in the play are based on true events that we learned in conversations with Greek families.

In YEL, Melinda has guarded one of these churches for many years; this is where she raised her daughter Thelma alone. Both live almost isolated from the neighborhood, their dog named Yel is a faithful companion of the two.

Thelma has earned a scholarship to a school abroad and will be leaving Istanbul. Melinda, who has a serious alcohol problem, cannot stay alone in Istanbul and therefore has to go back to her village in Hatay.

Our story tells the last evening of mother and daughter in the garden of the church. Melinda tries to stop her daughter from leaving. The situation becomes a reckoning. When Melinda realizes she can’t convince her daughter, she locks her in a chicken coop. While locked in the chicken coop, Melinda tells her the true story of Thelma’s father. He was a notorious thief in the neighborhood. Melinda tells how their relationship started, how she got pregnant by him and how he robbed her house. Suddenly she opens the door of the chicken coop and lets her daughter go. Here Thelma confesses that she knew her mother’s whole story a long time ago. After she confesses that she sold the 100-year-old icon that had disappeared in the church and used the proceeds to finance her ticket abroad, she leaves the garden, her mother and Yel.

YEL tells us this story, which ends with the mother shooting first the dog and then herself.

Sponsored by the Kunststiftung NRW.