Youth Theatre Showcases Broadway Hits

ASTANA – Broadway is coming to Astana: the Attraction youth theatre is launching its productions of the musical “Mamma Mia!” and the romantic comedy “Sylvia.”

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Amateurish yet lively acting has earned the three year old troupe of Attraction much love, especially from young viewers.

Attraction, based out of Gumilyov Eurasian National University (ENU), is in its fourth season. The student actors perform in the assembly hall of the ENU Faculty of Social Sciences (6 Janushkevich Street), and are eager to see new faces in the crowds. They say they appreciate every spectator and give every performance their all, no matter the crowd.

The youth actors show this appreciation in remarks before every performance. It has become a tradition for the founder, then the director, an actor, and until recently the artistic director – the soul of the theatre, Ilyas Danyarov to welcome guests.

Don’t expect high art and academicism from Attraction. The local Melpomene is a girl with a sense of humour, loving a good time, far from the usual clichés and stereotypes. The popular quotation of theatre guru Konstantin Stanislavsky, “Theatre begins with a hanger,” is expanded a bit here. The Attraction performers must be masters of all trades. They sell tickets and promote themselves in social media, sew costumes and translate librettos from English into Russian, as well as sing, dance and act. They act with enthusiasm, getting pleasure from what they do.

“It turned out that our theatre is operating only on the enthusiasm of actors,” Danyarov says. “The main sponsor of the Attraction performances is the viewer, as we spend all means realised from ticket sales on costumes, decorations, posters…. Unfortunately, the ENU provides us only a hall. Of course, it is difficult to develop well with such a ‘budget.’ However, that does not stop us. In less than four seasons, we have managed to show more than 50 performances and over 100 people have taken the risk of showing their own creative talent. The structure of our troupe is pretty patchy: it includes students from different universities of the capital and working youth, everyone without special education. We never thought about how we should be called – amateur actors or some other title. We are united by love of theatre, and that’s it!” Attraction’s repertoire includes well-known musicals “Mamma Mia,” “Chicago” and “The Producers,” the comedy “Tom, Dick and Harry”, the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” and the New Year story “Come to Look at Me.”

On May 18-19, Attraction will present the romantic comedy “Sylvia,” by Broadway playwright Albert Gurney. The play takes place in New York, where a typical American couple, Greg and Kate, are part of a love triangle. The third one in this intricate relationship is… a dog named Sylvia. This is a play about freedom, love and relationships; the story of how it is sometimes difficult to find common language with loved ones, much more difficult than with an ordinary dog that can make a person truly happy, the announcement on Attraction Theatre’s page on the social network VKontakte says.

The most high-profile representation of the season will be the musical “Mamma Mia!” which will be held on May 25-26 in the ENU hall.

Tickets are 1,000 tenge; student discounts are available.