Drama Portrays Country’s Transition to Independence

ASTANA – The play “Teren Tamyrlar” (“Deep Roots” in Kazakh) by Yerkin Zhuasbek will be performed in the Palace of Peace and Accord in Astana to celebrate the Day of the First President on December 1.

The play will be directed and produced by Nurlan Zhumaniyazov and performed by the actors of the Kuanyshbaev Kazakh Music and Drama Theatre. A historical drama, it recreates the key role of President Nursultan Nazarbayev in establishing the independence of Kazakhstan in 1991 and ensuring its survival during the troubled times that followed.

The play was written originally to celebrate the 20th anniversary of independence a year ago. Since then, the theatre company has performed it to popular success around the country. Stage and film star Kuandyk Kystykbaev, best known for his roles in the plays “Man-Wind” and “Daughter-in-Law” stars in the role of President Nazarbayev.

The play’s action occurs in a forest near Astana. A forester called Zhaynak cares for the trees and respects them as living things. He talks to them and treats them as people. Then President Nazarbayev comes to the forest on a visit and meets the old forester who invites him back that night. Zhaynak tells the President that to know all the forest’s secrets, it is best to visit it at night when the trees come alive.

That night when the president returns he finds that each tree represents a different person who experienced a different aspect of the birth and development of the nation, including members of the political opposition and the new rich.

All the trees have different characters. Some of them suppress others and do not allow them to grow. Others are always grumbling and dissatisfied with everything. Some are hopeful and idealistic and aspire to new achievements while others remain in the shadows.

“By the end of the play some of these ‘trees’ have embraced the development and achievements of the independent nation and others have not, but the audience is left to draw its own conclusions,” director Zhumaniyazov said.

Zhumaniyazov called the play a poetic drama, although it is technically an allegory. The play captures the essence of contemporary Kazakh society in which very different people live, but they are building a new life around the new capital Astana, a symbol of independence.

“The play tackles a difficult subject: It has little action and a lot of dialogue,” author Zhuasbek said. “All the action is accompanied by choral singing, which makes the performance more dynamic. My play gives joy to everyone who like to thinks, and making people think is the essence of allegory.”