OPENING NIGHT IN ILKHOM “MOTHER COURAGE”
The new theater season of the Ilkhom Theater can be characterized by the slogan “Theater goers – Unite!”. The 44th theater season was opened with a tour to Moscow, where two performances were presented at once at the Center for Drama and Directing namely: “Tsvetaeva. Fedra” and “Dog’s Heart”.
And on October 5th, the opening night of the joint project with the experimental theater-studio “Diydor” took place namely: “Shaddod ona va uning farzandlari” or “Mother Courage” based on the play by Bertold Brecht. The play is in the Uzbek language (with subtitles in Russian), and the actors of the “Diydor” theater play in it, with Boris Gafurov as the director of the performance. “Ilkhom” musicians, choreographer, lighting designer and sound engineer also contributed to the play.
A while back, in 1939, as envisioned by the author, the play was to be a warning to a government seeking to unleash a war. But while preparing for the play, the war has already begun. As Brecht subsequently said: “Writers cannot write as fast as governments unleash wars. Mother Courage is late.”
But the place and action of the play itself, if the author set “hashtags”, “timer” and noted “geolocation”, would look like this: # the thirty-year war of the 17th century # the story of the saleswoman accompanying the troops, and losing her sons and daughter in an endless war.
Where some wars end, others start immediately. And this play, being a desperate attempt to become a warning to another war that has not yet been unleashed, unfortunately, for about 80 years now has “always been late.” The theme of the ongoing war has been causing the concern of more than one generation, and the story of Mother Courage has been presented and rethought hundreds of times, and each time new hashtags and locations can be put to it, since the most important endless war doesn’t happen on the battlefield, but it does inside each person. Greed, selfishness, cowardice are eager for power, and there is a war in which there are no winners or defeated.
The Brecht’s play reveals actors and directors in different ways, each talking about some kind of their own war. “Mother Courage” by Boris Gafurov, tells precisely about such wars within us. The play about the European war with an Uzbek accent underlines the global problem of war with no end at sight.
There are no negative characters there – all characters are infinitely charming, sweet and sincere, plastic and musical. It does not at all look like the insensitive monster that is fed by war – the beautiful and stately Yulduz Radzhabova as Mother Courage, the incredibly charming rascal priest, performed by Akbarhodzhi Rasulov, the dumb daughter Katrin, played by Setora Teshaboeva, the sergeant-major and the recruiter Ulmas Uraev and Umar Jumaev –all of them, in essence, are good people.
What each character did can be justified, which is actually much worse and more realistic. After all, wars are unleashed not by abstract monsters, but by people. And “it will be better” is often the very motive by which they so act.
There is such a strange aftertaste from a “sharp” topic, told so easily and with such contagious charm.
The mixture of the “Diydor” studio traditions and “Ilkhom” techniques gives a special charm to familiar signs and actions, and in addition to attracting new spectators, it promises to refresh the perception of theater fans. The language should not become a barrier when we talk about universal values.
“On Leisure” weekly No. 43 (dated October 24, 2019)