and Caher, Laurel and Hardy of Cypriot theatre
One of the most
popular radio programmes in Northern Cyprus during the 1970s was
a certain comedy play Alikko and Caher. The reason for the big
popularity of the play was the fact that the chracters spoke
with what was called a very Cypriot [rural] accent of the early
years and that the jokes and ridicule of each other, by the two
rather volumnious caharacters of the play. Their plays were
tape-recorded and were sent by many Turkish Cypriots to their
relatives in far away lands UK, US, Turkey and Australia.
The actors who
played the two roles were Kemal Tunc, playing Alikko (on the
right in the picture) and Osman Balikcioglu, playing Caher. But
later, when Balikcioglu settled in London, and Tunc was left
alone, he paired with actor Yucel Koseoglu who took up the role
of Caher (on the righ in the pictur) from where Balikcioglu
heavy-weight actors of the Cypriot theatre have contributed in
many ways to the development of the Turkish Cypriot theatrical
identity with the characters that they portrayed in their plays.
People found part of them in either Alikko or Caher characters,
and this was part of the main reason that the popularity of the
duo lived long.
The actors also
strengthened their fame by playing in popular commercials on
Bayrak television of North Cyprus. In one occasion, during the
filming of the commercial Yucel Koseoglu (playing Caher) was to
strech his legs confortably in a phyton carriage, riding
comfortably as Alikko would watch him pass by leaving him
behind. But as the horse-pulled phyton carriage moved a few
metres it suddenly crushed and Koseoglu was left under the
carriage. The camera filmed all this, and when it was shown on
the television, the spectators laughed thinking that it was a
part of the role, but which in factc was an accident.
Thankfully, Koseoglu, rider, and the horses escaped without
Kemal Tunc's (a.k.a
Alikko) ability to impersonate the famous also opened him many
doors at unexpected of the times. During the difficult times of
the 1963, when he could not get through the telephone operator
to call outside (as the number of phone lines were very limited
then), he impersonated the then Vice President of the Cyprus
Republic Dr Fazil Kucuk on the phone. The result was impressive
as the operator connected Tunc in a matter of seconds, thinking
that it was the Vice President on the line.
Balikcioglu and Koseoglu's success and contributions in
enriching the Turkish Cypriot theatre are undeniably great. The
least, they have planted the seeds for the development of
home-grown Cypriot comedy which both young and old could enjoy.