Tendencies in the Development of Modern Theatrical Art of Uzbekistan

Sarvinoz Kadyrova
theater critic

The enormous role was played by the theatrical art of the Republic of Uzbekistan in revival of centuries-old spiritual and cultural heritage of the people, as well as formation of consciousness and bringing to the consciousness of the younger generation the values of the Uzbek people perfected during several centuries. Theatrical art, like other types of art, has immense influencing power to the hearts and minds of people. Watching directly a dramatic action, the viewer perceives the living embodiment of life, his own participation in it, and finds answers to his questions. A piece of history or modern life reflected in a theatrical performance can leave an indelible mark in the viewer’s soul. It explains the attentive attitude to theater by the Uzbek educators of the beginning of the last century, who sought to solve great tasks by means of theater, which was put in one row with school education and the press calling it a tribune, or center of leaning and education.
In the years of independence, the development of theatrical art of Uzbekistan became one of many priorities of the state. Thus, the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan I. Karimov “About development of the theatrical art of Uzbekistan” dated on March 26, 1998 and followed it the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers have defined clear long-term tasks of development of theatrical art of the country. Milestones on this way became the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan I. Karimov dated on September 21, 2001. “About assignment to the Uzbek State Academic Drama Theater named after Khamza of the status “National Theater” and the Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan I. Karimov dated on January 22, 2014 “About celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Uzbek National Academic Drama Theater”. The most important results of the adopted documents were capitally renovated buildings of the National Academic Drama Theater of Uzbekistan, the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of the opera and ballet named after Alisher Navoiy, Music drama theater of the Khorezm region in Urgench city, regional music and drama theaters of Bukhara and Namangan regions, and moving of the Puppet Theater of the Fergana region to a new modern building.
In the course of transition to market economy, the state has undertaken for financing of theater and material support of artists. At the same time, theaters sought to be adapted to conditions and requirements of market economy by staging competitive performances, as well as interests, expectations and aspirations of the audience, which ensures their partial self-financing.
In the years of independence, the repertoire of our theaters has added by the performances forbidden during the Soviet regime for the ideological reasons. Thanks to the revived ancient traditions, customs and values the work on historical theme were staged, which role and place in education of the young generation in the spirit of national pride and respect for national traditions is immeasurable. Tens of dramatic works, created and realized on a theatrical scene, were devoted to life and activity of such great historic figures as Imam Al-Bukhari, Bakhouddin Nakshbandi, At-Termezi, Amir Temur, Ahmad Al-Fergani, Alisher Navoi, Dzhaloliddin Manguberdi, Mirzo Ulugbek, and Boborakhim Mashrab. We should note a particular interest of theatrical figures in the personality of Amir Temur and the Temurids’ epoch. Among the works dramatized and presented to the viewer, there are such works as the historical drama “Amir Temur and Yildirim Bayazid” by Abdunabiyev (Surkhandarya regional music and drama theater named after M. Uyghur), poetic drama “Sokhibkiron” by A. Aripov (The National Academic Drama Theater of Uzbekistan), “Amir Temur and Tukhtamishkhan” by Tura Mirzo (Musical and drama theater of the Fergana region), “Son of the era” (“Zamon ugloni”) by T. Akbarkhodzhayev (Kattakurgan city music and drama theater), drama “Testament to posterity” (“Avlodlarga vasiyat”) by O. Yakubov (Dzhizzakh regional music and drama theater named after Yunus Radzhabi), ballet “Al-Fergani” (music by M. Bafoyev, libretto by Zh. Zhabbarov) (The State Academic Bolshoi Theatre named after Alisher Navoi), performance of dancing theater “Temurids’ Queens” (libretto by Yu. Ismatova, music by A. Ikromov), “Imom Al-Buhari” by U. Kuchkar (Samarkand regional music and drama theater), drama “Youth of Ahmad Al-Fergani” by I. Rahim (Kokand city music and drama theater), drama “Fairy love” (“Osmonga sigmagan muhabbat”) by Yu. Suleiman (Fergana regional music and drama theater named after Yu. Shakardzhanova), “Zhaloliddin Manguberdi” by E. Samandarov (Khorezm regional music and drama theater), drama “Lord of heaven” (“Piri koinot”) by H. Rasul (The Uzbek National Academic Drama Theater of Uzbekistan), “I’m neither beauty, nor angel” (“Na malikaman, na farishta”) by N. Kabul (The Uzbek Sate Theater named after Mukimi).
It is gratifying that during staging of dramatic works about life of thinkers, scientists and political leaders the creative teams of theaters, along with traditional realistic methods of psychological theater use modern trends of foreign theaters. Thus, there are performances with a pronounced national color corresponding to the tastes of modern viewer and inviting to philosophical reflections about life. Creative searches have found the expression in music, dances and plastic movements of actors. These are, for example, plastic performances of The Youth Theater “Omar Khayyam’s Constellation” (based on the work by Z. Musakov) and based on Alisher Navoi’s poem “Language of birds” (“Parable about bestowed love) (directed by N. Abdurakhmanov).
The scenic works devoted to life and creativity of such educators of the early XX century as Bekhbudi, Chulpan, Fitrat, Kadyri, and Usman Nosir were created during independent development. These are such dramas of Ziyo Nadzhimy as “Lion in chain” (The Youth Theater of Andijan), “Nights without days” and “Life of writer” by U. Azim, “Usman Nasyr” by Nadyra Rashidova (The Uzbek National Academic Drama Theater), “Selfless” by T. Ahmad (The Bukhara regional music and drama theater), which cover life and works of famous writers and poets
The government paid special attention to the performances based on historical works, allocating large funds for their staging that has a significant impact on their development. It should be especially noted, that the performances covering the historical topics differ in the monumentality, conditional metaphorical form and content, as well as skill of actors.
In theatrical art of the last years, creators of performances, keeping realistic decisions, more often use forms and elements of performing art, folklore and ethnographic elements. The director’s decisions differing in successful use of methods and styles of the world theater are beyond traditional national theater. Among them there are such scenic works as “Sacred Bukhara” (The Uzbek national academic drama theater, stage adaptation by N. Karimov based on S. Ayni’s work, directed by B. Yuldashev), “Doctor trickster” (Sh. Boshbekov’s scenario based on J. B. Moliere’s work “Doctor willy-nilly”) and “Clown” (“Boz maskharaboz”) by O. Salimov (The Republican theater of young spectator), “Travel to Tashkent” based on the work by Khamza, directed by O. Salimov (The Fergana regional music and drama theater), plays “Shall I find an old lady for you, Daddy?” and “Died, became dear” based on the work by Kh. Khursandov, directed by M. Ravshanov (The Surkhandarya theater), “Chimildik” by E. Khushvaktov, (directed by T. Azizov and M. Abdullaeva) and “Kallik uyin” (directed by T. Azizov and H. Makhmudova), artistic composition “Ayolgu” (V. Umarov, National Academic Drama Theater of Uzbekistan).
Theaters of Uzbekistan have addressed to previously forbidden creative experiments: to new forms and genres. It is significant that such experiments were carried out not only in theater-studios, but also in the state theaters. These are such performances, as the comedy “Midsummer night’s dream” by Shakespeare (The Uzbek National Academic Drama Theater), the “Padishah and poet” based on the work by T. Zulfikarov “Partridge in a cage” (developed by Sh. Rakhmatullayev, Surkhandarya regional music and drama theater), music dramas by N. Shadmanov “Noah’s Ark” and “Leyli and Medzhnun” (Kashkadarya regional music and drama theater).
Along with wide use of the national artistic-literary heritage and traditions, an aspiration to creative comprehension of new trends in theatrical art of the world, especially neighboring countries, becomes noticeable in the Uzbek theaters. This process gets importance at theater festivals and forums held in our country. These are first, the festival “We chant you, contemporary!” (“Seni kuylaymiz, zamondosh!”), “Debut” competition-festival of young film directors, the International Opera Festival “Spring of Tashkent” (“Toshkent bahori”) and festival of puppet theaters, which have become traditional and held in our country under the guidance of creative production association “Uzbekteatr”. The seminars held by the Union of Writers of Uzbekistan which purpose is identification of new talented playwrights also deserve attention.
Now in Uzbekistan there are 37 state theaters, which performances are characterized by a variety of subjects and genres. The evidence of creative achievements of theaters is the fact, that theatrical collectives of our country are active participants of the prestigious international festivals held in various countries, where creative works of the Uzbek theatrical figures take the prestigious places. One of them is the international festival “Humo” organized by the Youth Theater of Uzbekistan, within which the artistic director of theater N. Abdurakhmanov received an opportunity to stage several performances in Israel. The national theater participated in the International Theater Festival in Cairo (Egypt) with the performances “Chimildik” and “Ayolgu” won prestigious places.
A new stage in development of national theatrical art began in the new millennium. By this time, theater groups began to take into account the needs of viewers in the conditions of market economy and to work so that the performances gave to the viewer spiritual food, and made for the theater profit. Currently, creative teams of Uzbek theaters are in search of scenic works of modern subject in various genres for embodiment of a contemporary’s image on a scene. Among such works there are “Beware people!” by U. Azim, “Oydin” by R. Mukhammadzhanov, “Test of fate”, “You have awaken the sun” and “Don’t come off the native earth” by K. Norkobil (The National Theater), “Elder Aral” by E. A’zam (Kashkadarya regional music and drama theater), “Debt” by N. Abboskhon (Bukhara regional music and drama theater), “Roots” by U. Azim (Karakalpak state theater of young spectator), “Alarm” by Sh. Kakhkhar (State drama theater of Uzbekistan). These performances touch on topical issues of the present, glorify defenders of the homeland; and call for respect of elderly people. In a word, serious creative searches are conducted in the field of modern thematic and creation of a contemporary’s scenic image.
Today we had developed a peculiar model of theater. The support of the state, freedom and independence provided to theaters have already yielded positive results. Theaters have begun to put the spiritual needs of the audience at the forefront of its activity. There is a process of revival of forgotten themes and images, strengthening of national identity in the scenic works, searches of modern more effective methods, styles and means of expression.

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