Haldun Boysan – Yet always when I look death in the face
Yet always when I look death in the face – by W.B. Yeats
Theater, movie and voice actor Haldun Boysan from Turkey died at the age of 62. I liked his performance in a movie I watched 22 years ago so much that I wanted to write a few lines after Boysan, although I did not know much about him and never talked face to face. At least the majority of my friends in the Facebook, who doesn’t know Turkey and Turkish would know that there once was an actor in Turkey named Haldun Boysan.
The movie I watched Boysan was Gemide (On the Boat). Gemide was an independent film written by Onder Cakar and directed by Serdar Akar, as their first professional works in cinema.It was a movie set in almost one venue, in a sand coaster, between a captain, three crew members, and a Romanian prostitute they kidnapped and brought on board while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.Two of the crew raped the woman they kidnapped. When they are awake, they are hit that they will get into trouble.
Gemide was a psychological thriller, drama of which wasn’t sharpened, tension of which was not pried up and which was shot in a narrow space and was too phallocentric that I am still not sure that was because of its characters or its setting up and played with minimized “doing” and largely as “being” acting. In addition, its dialogues, which were criticized as “too slang” while it came out, were more realistic than ever before in Turkish cinema.
I saw firsthand how the realism in the said dialogues was a taboo in Turkey at the time I staged Thomas Jonigk’s “Torun Istiyorum/ You Shall Give Me Grandsons” at Istanbul Municipality Theater. The art director of the period, Sukru Turen, wanted to ban the play when he had noticed the lines (which meant that though the translation of the play was given long ago, he and his team did not need to read it until the little birds sent a message to him from rehearsals), but since the play was a co-production with the Goethe Institute, he had cold feet from its reflection in the media and retracted but tried to press us to “soften” the dialogues.
The play’s being a melodrama written using the clichés of the German bourgeois society of the time, the novelty and provocative aspect of the play was its dialogues. Of course, we staged the play with its Turkish translation “without softening” it.Since also starring Erkan Can was an actor I followed then before his dozens of performances cropped up in which he played “with the edge of his ass” if said colloquially and its being a first movie, I watched Gemide as soon as it came out. But when I watched the movie, I discovered another good actor that I followed along with Can: Haldun Boysan.
Haldun Boysan graduated from Ankara University Faculty of Language History and Geography (DTCF) Theater Department. He worked at the leading Turkish style leftist theater of the era, AST (Ankara Sanat Tiyatrosu), and then the Istanbul Sehir Tiyatrosu/ Istanbul Municiplity Theater, where I worked for years, as well. I guess he must have left the Istanbul Municiplity Theater before I joined, as we were never there in the same period.Haldun Boysan became one of the actors I followed up after Gemide. But I never watched Boysan again in a role where he could show his acting talent that influenced me.
He starred in over 50 movies and series, most of them being tv-series. Later, in all the movies and tv series I watched, be it drama or comedy, he was always confined to the same flat character. You could notice his actor fabric, his talent, his acting technique, but it was always the roles he played by “eating out of pocket”. It hurts me that a talented actor does not coincide with roles that he can perform or drive. Unfortunately, real life is not fair for everyone.The period I was following him, he was not on stage. Later, he acted in some private theaters and commercial comedies, but I did not go to watch those.Boysan died in an ambulance after a heart attack in Urgup, where he went to shoot the tv series “Maria and Mustafa”, which was stopped during the pandemic but started to be shot again.
It was announced that Boysan’s pacemaker had to be renewed but he did not go to the hospital for this procedure because he was afraid of COVID-19. Boysan with Erkan Can, Yildiray Sahinler and Naci Tasdogen on a scene of Gemide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RzP6ZBFTZw…
Boysan died as an actor who will stay in my mind even with a single performance and for whom I will always feel sorry for being a good actor who never came across a role where he could enjoy his acting again. “Gemiler/Ships” from Acid Orhan (Orhan Atasoy);
.This article is writen by Mehmet Atak for facebook – Haldun Boysan – Yet always when I look death in the face