Istanbul theatre to stage story of legendary Ottoman aviator

A Turkish theater adapted the story of a legendary Ottoman aviator in a play, the head director of Istanbul State Theaters told Anadolu Agency.

Hakan Çimenser said the play focuses on the airborne passion of Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, who reportedly glided across the Bosphorus Strait from Istanbul's Galata Tower in the 17th century with a pair of bird-like wings.

The two-hour play titled "Flying: Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi," will premier on Tuesday at Istanbul's Mecidiyeköy Büyük Sahne and is expected to be staged several times at the venue.

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

Çimenser, who is also director of the play, said it told the story of "us", adding: "When we attend any festival around the world, the most asked question is 'What is your story?'"

"Really, what is our story?" he asked. "Can we really tell our story to the world with the aesthetics […] of theater? This is our aim."

Çimenser pointed out that the stories of Hezarfen and Lagari Hasan Celebi, another who allegedly flew a manned rocket in the 17th century, according to the Evliya Celebi's account.

"We were attracted by the fact that such original people lived in the 17th century," he added.

"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.

Çimenser noted that Turkey's flag carrier Turkish Airlines was also sponsoring the play.

The play casts Tolga Evren, Emir Çicek and Fikret Urucu.

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

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