Naurauz : Theatre for all Seasons

by the honored guest of the festival and the winner of the State Prize of the Republic of Sakha; Stepanida Borisova

Dr Elmira Bayram-Ali and Raisa Safiullah two cultural icons of Kazan

During the festival audience got the chance to get photos with the stars of Tatar Theatre

Kamal Tatar National Academic Theatre

Nazim Hikmet performance from Turkey

The fireworks celebrate the final day of the festival

The president of Tatarstan Mr Rustam Minnikhanov is celebrating the national Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukay

The writer is standing under the flags of the participants in International Theatre Festival of Turkic Peoples Naurauz

It had been a week of happiness for those who fall in love with theatre. The city is Kazan, the location is G. Kamal Tatar National Academic Theatre, and the event is the 11th edition of the International Theatre Festival of Turkic Peoples; Naurauz, with performances from 3 – 7 June, 2013.

Some aspects are typically related to this Naurauz Theatre Festival in the Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation), is presenting the Tatar national poet Gabdulla Tukay (1886-1913). When he died Tukay was just 27 years old, but he left 12,000 lines of poetry. In his poems he treated different nationalistic, religious, social and personal themes. His poems are enjoyed by the young as well as the old. I translated his famous Shurale folk tale into Arabic, and the Naurauz Theatre Festival gifted the audience one of his most famous works: Sheep and the Goat, that was with a dramatization by Garay Rahim, stage director Ildous Zinnurov, set designer Alexander Gubskii. The composer of this musical is Louise Batyr-Bulgari and choreographer is Guzel Mannapova.

The Road to Learn

The fascinating and exhortative tale Goat and Sheep introduces the young audience to the conflict between the rich and the poor, justice and kindness. The main characters of the fairy tale the Goat and the Sheep go away from the old man and the old woman, who live very hard. By the will of the evil neighbor Bay as a debt they were to go to him to serve. In the forest, the Goat and the Sheep find the head of a Wolf, and hide it in a bag. Since that very moment the intricacies of the plot come to life. Applying wit and ruse they save not only themselves, but also their owners – the old man and the old woman, against the encroachments of the evil Bai.

The tale is full of music – it makes the play really joyful. The sense of this wonderful fairy tale remains constant – the ability of a good heart to work wonders; that’s why for many years it attracted and attracts children and adults.

The Tatar State Puppet Theatre welcomed this show. It was my second visit to that legendary architecture palace of puppet that directly reminds you with the Arabian Nights.

From Bashkir State Puppet Theatre comes AMINBEK play, written by Ragid Yanbulatov , derived from some of our Eastern fairy tales. The author succeeded to give the right mix of different resources with the backgroung of one solid idea. The performance was directed by Gulnara Valitova, Production designer was Natalia Biryukova.

The amazing part is that I got the chance to watch AMINBEK twice; once live in the Tatar State Puppet Theatre «Ekiyat», big hall, and second when I came home with the recorded version to show for my little daughters who were attracted by it very much, thanks to the translation of Dr. Elmira Bayram-Ali, who translated it for me. She is also translating the Kamal Tatar National Academic Theatre performances for English language listeners, live.

Aminbek is telling us the story of the young man who went with a financial support of his family to earn money. But in the three times he spent the money on learning, first the language, secondly playing music on violin, third playing the game of chess. Although his family, especially father, were blaming him for not utilizing money to trade for earning more, we discover that the knowledge he got helped him to solve problems, escape from conspiracy, win and be the ruler. There is nothing that fascinates the young viewer as a folk tale with long history and deep roots. Whatever will have to meet on his way the kid Aminbek, who hits the road to learn how to live, in order to become a real man? The most important thing in this way – to keep the heart open, and we really believe, that our hero will be able to…

Clash of Authorities

The clash of authorities, I could say, was a main theme in most of the performances I could attend during the week.

The drama of Mullah, directed and musical arrangement by Farid Bikchantaev, is one of the latest creations of the famous playwright Tufan Minnullin. This play was awarded the Special Prize of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan in the contest « New Tatar Play » (2006).

Before the performance I was introduced to the actor who played the new Mullah character, and Farid Bikchantaev, the director. Their shining spirit in life were reflected in their work, that was well designed by Sergey Skhomorohov.

Tatar village is under the threat of extinction and, even worse, the crisis of spirituality. Will the urban mullah, despite his young age, a man of difficult fate, prevent a catastrophe? Can he save the at least one living soul, or direct the villagers on the right path? The play does not give a clear answer, but puts the question squarely, engenders doubt in the soul of the viewer.

We find the type of those clashes between the Mullah and the gangster, between the grandfathers and the grandsons, between the virtues of young women and the sin secrets of them, between the police and the people, even between the sayings of old men, and the wisdom of Gabdulla Tukay.
The happy end of Mullah could hide the real conflict, as the turning off problems might need more a young Mullah and a young lover, it needs a whole village to change.

Romeo and Juliet, from London to Japan via the Republic of Tyva!

Another type of clash was presented via the Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet, brought by the National Music and drama Theatre of the Republic of Tyva named V.Kok-ool (Kyzyl)

The famous new version of tragedy was directed by Suzanne Oorzhak, and we loved so much the choreographer Jeanna Namchyn-ool’s work, which was simple and deep.

The premiere of «Romeo and Juliet» was held at the Viktor Kok-ool National Music and Drama Theatre on 27 March 2013, forty years after the first staging. Love and youth – bold, restless and thirsting for life are brought to the fore. Blood feuds, revenge and even tragedy recede on the backburner. The performance is filled with the ringing of swords and the “odour” of Shakespeare’s era. Despite the blurry box, there remains metaphysical space – the territory of love, hate, passion and despair of the two warring clans. With the help of translation of one of the greatest classics of Tuvan Sergey Pyurbyu, the director managed to save and transfer to the audience the beauty, depth and melody of the national language, not breaking the artistic style of William Shakespeare.

When we come to the performance given by Khakas Theatre of Drama and Ethnic Music «Chitigen » (Abakan); named the Isle of Celestial Nets by Monzaemon Chikamatsu, we face a poetic drama that was compared with the famous play by William Shakespeare’s «Romeo and Juliet».

Directed by Baatr Colaev, and stage directed by Baatr Colaev, the play by Chikamatsu is based on the real events that occurred in Japan on the island of Omedzimi. The play was written a few days after the tragic events, and found a warm response from the audience. We talk in it about perceiving of the human nature, its connection with the sense of duty and honor on the one hand, and unbridled desire of the flesh on the other. This is a poem about each of us, our real desires and dual nature of man, about the fact that life is incomprehensible, but at the same time beautiful. We’re talking about love and the ability to forgive, and that everyone should use until the end, until the last breath the great opportunity – to live.

The festival was a chance to introduce many experiences, life and puppet, poetic and musical, comedy and tragedy, and the best thing that you rarely find an empty place in the different locations hosting the performances. This makes of Kazan a real capital of theatre.

Of the plays were the comedy acted by M. Fayzy Orenburg Tatar State Drama Theatre, The Tricks of Scapin by Jean-Baptiste Moliere of the son of an important man fell in love with a poor girl, the son of another one – with a young gypsy girl. Fathers are in anger, the young are at a loss, but a young servant Scapa – cheater and slicker interferes with the affair; he is transformed through time and space, easy to change, he is endowed with intelligence, shines with wit, resourcefulness, courage, ability to get out of any situation … A series of hilarious adventures, touching «crimes » and funny «punishment », and … loving hearts reunite, their fathers gain the lost children … Events happen under the sky of Naples, with all the attendant consequences: hot characters, vivid passions and crucial situations.

Tuymazy Tatar State Drama Theatre presented CURSED LOVE by Florid Bulyakov, G. Kamal Tatar National Academic Theatre showed A SUMMER DAY by Jon Fosse, Naberezhnye Chelny State Puppet Theatre performed GET-TOGETHERS by Roza Sakhabutdinova,Chuvash State Puppet Theatre has 14 LETTERS TO GOD by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Almetyevsk Tatar State Theatre of Drama presented Bertolt Brecht ‘s A RESPECTABLE WEDDING Bertolt Brecht, Turkmen National Youth Theatre named A. Arslan (Ashgabat) performed PARTHIAN LOVE by K.Danatarov, National Youth Theatre “Uchur” (Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek) acted ANARHAY … (THE LAND OF ANARHAY) by Chingiz Aitmatov, and M.Gafuri Bashkir State Academic Drama Theatre showed ECLIPSE by Mustai Karim.

Stepanida Borisova

I have to admit how much I enjoyed the one person performance by the honored guest of the festival and the winner of the State Prize of the Republic of Sakha; Stepanida Borisova – Yakut actress and singer. She graduated from Higher Theatre School (Institute) named MS Shchepkin, plays in Yakut Academic Theatre named Oyunskiy, debuted in 1975. Laureate of the State Prize of Yakutia named Oyunskiy. People’s Artist of Russia. Since the 1980’s. she began singing in theatrical productions (in particular, in the production of «The Good Person of Szechwan» by Bertolt Brecht), using the Yakut national singing technique toyuk. Since the 1990’s. she has toured extensively as a folk singer, participated in numerous festivals of Ethnic music. She has performed also in a rock band «Cholbon ». In 2009, Stepanida Borisova was nominated for best actress in a drama , at the festival “Golden Mask” with the Moscow premiere of her her solo performance, «The Old Woman », by the prose of D. Harms, directed by Fyodor Pavlov-Andrievich. She played the role of Oelun, the mother of Genghis Khan, in the Russian-Mongolian movie « The Mystery of Genghis Khan » (2009)

Her play was presented by People’s Artist of Russia and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Entitled MEDEA, written by Heiner Müller, the One-Person Show was directed by Shamil Dyikanbaev (Kyrgyzstan).

Time passes through each of us and leaves its trace. And the creators of the show also move along this path. The painful memory of the soul and the mind becomes a guide to the past, where Medea is pagan, Medea is a shaman and she reads the chronicle of the sufferings, woven into her own body. This story is not about revenge or insanity; it’s about the past – how it can remind about itself every moment. Stepanida Borisova performs the text by Heiner Muller in a distinctive singing style of the Yakut folk.

For All Poets, For All Seasons

On my article of the Pushkin Day I mentioned to the performance of the School of Dramatic Art, Moscow, in their “Lessons” show that clearly enlightened the creativity of Pushkin poetic language. Also there was the celebration of another great poet in the performance of Gabdulla Tukay’s : Sheep and the Goat. The third poet was the greatest playwright William Shakespeare. But he was not the last.

THE SUICIDE BENERJEE of the well-known Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet was another greeting to the realm of poets. Amphitheater on the shore of Lake Kaban, just near the backyard of theatre, at the sunset, two wheels were made of metal to show the life in, outside and near them. The performance was brought by Istanbul State Theatre of Drama (Turkey), and was welcomed by the open air audience whose prayers to stop the morning rain were responded to enjoy the unique performance. And for all poets, it was, and for all seasons International Theatre Festival of Turkic Peoples Naurauz will continue to give its flowers of surprising texts, actors and actresses, directors, and all theatre dreamers.

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