MARK WAIL’S TASHKENT “ILKHOM” THEATER HAS RETURNED HOME AFTER SUCCESSFUL SEPTEMBER TOURS IN MOSCOW.
During four days the Center for Drama and Directing (CDD) at the Sokol had full halls. Tickets for the Ilkhom performances were sold out several months before the theater arrived. In anticipation of the tour, social media was filled with comments asking for an “extra ticket.”
In Moscow, Ilkhom showed two of its best-in-class performances namely: “Tsvetaeva. Fedra” by Vladimir Pankov and “Dog Heart” by Artem Kim.
Both performances are complex with multi-level productions where more than a dozen actors and musicians are involved. The performances are well known to the Tashkent audience: the opening nights of these performances took place on the Ilkhom stage in 2017.
Vice-director of the theater Irina Bharat shares her impressions of the tour:
“It was important for us to return to Moscow, a few years later, with new performances of Ilkhom. “Fedra” and “Dog Heart” is a new phase in the development of the theater. Such an “Ilkhom” has not yet been seen in Moscow. And again we surprised and delighted the capital.”
“I believe that the tour was worthy and resonant. Moscow ensured a sellout and standing ovation after each performance. All noted the highest professional level of the team. This opinion of both the viewer and the professional community – the actors of the best theaters in Moscow, critics, journalists – all spoke delightfully about the team spirit of Ilkhom, about the super-inclusive existence on the site, about the unique aesthetics of our theater.”
The choice of the CDD venue for the Ilkhom tour was not accidental. Vladimir Pankov, artistic director of the CDD theater and founder of the Soundrama theater, is a long-time friend of Ilkhom, who has staged the performances “Seven Moons”, “Rain Beyond the Wall”, and “Tsvetaeva. Fedra” at Ilkhom. Moscow and Tashkent theaters are united by a common spirit, which is periodically embodied in joint projects.
“Two countries, two theaters, sister theaters. It seems that this is a very important moment when the theaters are friends and interact with each other. Not only interact, but also go on tour. Thus, a dialogue is built between Uzbekistan and Russia. It seems that this is an extremely important task – to communicate with each other. Ilkhom in Moscow is a big event. Such high-profile tours … I have not seen this before! And of course, we need to thank the Theater Union of Russian Federation and Alexander Kalyagin, who supported this story and enabled the two theaters to be on the same site. There were meetings with the audience, discussions took place, and it was important for me to see how delighted spectators excitedly talk about the Ilkhom team” Vladimir Pankov, artistic director of the CDD shared his impressions.
Tours of the Ilkhom Theater in Moscow became possible thanks to the joint efforts of Uzbekistan, Russia and Switzerland.
For the first time in many years, the initiative of the Ilkhom Theater was supported in Uzbekistan. Part of the theater’s expenses was covered by the Fund for Development of Culture and Art under the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan. At the same time, the Fund noted that they were ready to help Ilkhom in the future.
The Swiss Cooperation Office in Uzbekistan, a long-time friend and partner of the Mark Wail’s Ilkhom Theater, also contributed to the tour.
The tour of the theater in Moscow was marked as an important event, primarily for the theater itself. The team received the most powerful experience from interaction with the Moscow audience, contemplated itself again in the world to be a creative unit.
“Before leaving on tour, I set the task for the team. We are going for a new experience that will help us reach a new level. For us it was not a task to assemble a full hall, or to achieve some success. We went for a new spiritual and creative experience, and I believe that we got it in full. The performances were filled with new meanings, a new sound in contact with a new audience”, said Artem Kim, a director of the play “Dog Heart”.
“Touring is always an extreme event. Everything needs to be done in a very short time, in new technical conditions, to face the unknown. And it is in extreme conditions that people get coherent, mobilized, prop up, and support emotionally. Ilkhom is a family. And we felt it again,” – Irina Bharat believes.
Moscow critics were almost unanimous in their reviews: the tour was successful.
“These tours allowed Muscovites to see the actors of Ilkhom – a critically high level performance and acting ensemble. But it also seems that there is no such Pankov director in Moscow now either, and this is not a better-worse comparison. In “Fedra” there is another director’s language, another artist with the same handwriting. In one word it is another facet. The one that leaves the viewer on the brink, presses down emotionally and makes you think both during the performance and after”, – wrote Julia Zamyatina, a critic in her review of the play “Tsvetaeva Fedra”.
The performance of “Fedra” surprised Tatyana Starostin, the critic and blogger: “And no matter how much sound and plastic there was in all this, the strongest impression was the text itself performed by the stunning Ilkhom actors that seemed to convince anyone in anything. Four main characters and two supporting characters – in different registers, from tragedy to almost clownish, with the highest skill and organics that melt the spectator confirmed that the glory of Ilkhom is persistent”.
Doctor of Art Criticism, Honored Worker of Culture of Russia Tigran Mkrtychev warmly responded to the play “Dog Heart”: “The authors of the production managed to concentrate the main thoughts of Bulgakov’s work – the creator should be responsible for his actions; it is impossible to make a person out of unsuitable material (from a dog – there are no negative connotations). The production switched from political sarcasm about the Soviet power to more global generalizations on the subject of relations between person and power. The performance contains excellent choreography and very catchy music.”
“Shock! Cultural! A minimum of stage scenery and costumes, but what an amazing presentation. Rock, rap, opera arias, a lot of plastic, drama and even eccentrics. Admired by the musical arrangement of the performance, bravo! That a seamlessly lively music underlines every movement!”- blogger Maytraya writes about the play “Dog Heart”.
Moscow spectators, who watched Ilkhom in CDD during its tour, warmly welcomed the theater in their feedbacks on Instagram:
– Ilkhom, as always, in its style, delights and leaves a deep impression. (@necatherine).
– A very strong performance for a trained audience. (@_millanholia).
– Sharikov was sorry almost to tears … Bravo, Bravo! (@ nadezhda2003).
– A modern theater, as it should be, but never will be (@ izmay1ov).
– Moscow fell in love with Ilkhom, but the date was too short. The audience lamented in the comments: “I am crying, I wanted so much for Dog Heart, but there are no tickets anymore” (@_brocca_).
In this sense, Tashkent spectators have an advantage over Muscovites: their native theater is nearby, and tickets can always be found at the box office. The new season of the Mark Wail’s Ilkhom Theater opens on September 13.
By: Nikita Makarenko, September 13, 2019