At the end of April of 1919, Armenian actress “Eliza Binemeciyan”, who was supposed to play the role of “Emel” in Hüseyin Suat's play “Yamalar", had to suddenly travel abroad, and so Afife, using the nickname “Jale”, went on the stage for the first time. This gave her the title as “the first Turkish actress”.

 

When Afife Jale took her first step on the stage, her knees were tingling as much as her heart. When she gazed from the bright stage to the dark hall, she saw the sky that she watched through her bedroom window. She was now a part of the eternity that she couldn't get enough of watching. 

 

The eye-catching light of Afife Jale, immediately impressed everyone who came to see the play. Her reputation already preceded her even before she changed out of her costumes and got off the stage. This fame, no doubt, would bring her success in her career; however, it also retained a danger.

She knew that step would take Turkish women and Turkish art forward, beyond “ the drawn lines”. And also knew that this step would have serious consequences. Indeed, it did...

 

While the first play she successfully performed was continuing, a few weeks later, at the beginning of May in 1919, she appeared in the play “ The Sweet Secret”. This was her first confrontation with darkness. In the first performance of the play, police raided the theatre; Afife Jale escaped through the maintenance room window by the help of an Armenian member of the staff. Afife Jale, with the enormous love of art in her, didn't care about it much. She continued being on the stage. 

 

In her following performance, while she was accepting the applause that she very much deserved, the police raided the theatre once again. This time Afife was able to escape the police by hiding in the material cupboard. Meanwhile, her fame was rising and she was increasingly known. This fame made her situation even worse. Eventually, failing to escape this time, Afife Jale was arrested by police following a performance.

 

At that date, “the boundaries” which determined what Turkish women can or can’t do blacklisted Afife. Even though she was saved by her father from the police station, he couldn’t save her from the boundaries of her mind. After this incident, in order to deem himself innocent among society, Afife Jale's father Mr Hidayet declared his daughter an “evil woman” and disowned her.

Following this incident, the rest simply turned into a fight of “independence" for Afife. Just like the homeland’s fight of independence at the very same time...

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