ASTANA – Actors from the Gafuri Bashkir State Academic Drama Theatre performed the play “White Steamer” on Oct. 8 at the Gorky Russian Drama Theatre in Astana as part of the Days of Bashkortostan events.
Honoured Artist of Russia, People’s Artist of Bashkortostan and Artistic Director of the Bashkir Drama Oleg Khanov; People’s Artist of the USSR Gyulli Mubaryakova, who recently celebrated her 77th birthday; Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation and People’s Artist of Bashkortostan Ildar Saitov; People’s Artist of Bashkortostan Svetlana Hakimova and others were among the performers. The performance travelled to Astana after its debut in Kostanay on Oct. 6.
The play is based on a classic story by Chingiz Aitmatov. The directors of the staging were Oleg Khanov and famous Russian director Linas Zaykauskas. Composer Ural Idelbaev wrote the pan-Turkic score. The premiere took place in March 2013. Since then, theatre critics have praised the performance and it has received standing ovations.
The play focuses on the opposition of two words and the Russification of non-Russian elites in a society. The play contrasts adults, bereft of their history and culture, with a seven-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a fish to swim away to return to his father, who has disappeared. The sets used the smells of cooking food to set the stage. Sand art illustrations of fairy tales were projected onto the set’s background, creating the world of a seven-year-old’s mind.
The performance ended with applause, a basket of flowers from Minister of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Kul-Muhammed and Akim of Astana Imangali Tasmagambetov and bouquets from the audience. The audience lingered, discussing the show in the foyer. Despite the fact that the performance was in the Bashkir language, Tatars and Kazakhs at the show said they understood the performance because of the similarity of the languages. For others, headphones were provided for interpretations.