In Yekaterinburg, the audience will be presented with the play “Alif”, for which a ton of sand was brought to the Chamber Theater. On it, Nurbek Batulla will perform a dance in which he will depict the letters that make up the words and sentences in the poem “Native Language” by the Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukay. A URA.RU correspondent attended the rehearsal.
“The concept was proposed by our director Tufan Imamutdinov, Marcel and I [Нуриевым] picked up this idea and already composed a movement for each letter of the Arabic alphabet in detail. Then, from these movements, we write Gabdulla Tukay’s poem “Native Language,” he wrote it using Arabic calligraphy,” explained Nurbek.
According to him, the production is not so much an educational project as a cry from the heart. “The Tatars used Arabic letters until 1927; it’s not even a hundred years since we switched to the Cyrillic alphabet. It is a great stress for a culture when you cannot read what your ancestors wrote: diaries, scientific works, poetry, literature. Few modern Tatars know calligraphy, unless they specifically teach it,” the dancer explained.
The language of dance and music is used to communicate Arabic calligraphy. Each movement of Nurbek is assigned a letter, which is voiced by one vocalist, then the letters are formed into words – they are pronounced by the second, all this turns into stanzas of a poem, which are voiced by the third. Musically, all this is accompanied by ancient Turkic instruments – kurai, kubyz, dumbra, throat singing, def, shamanic tambourine. “After the First World War, the Tatars fell in love with the accordion, and this replaced all traditional instruments. And in the vocals there is a certain concept – two vocalists use a folk style of singing, and the other uses an academic performance. This is also a kind of struggle between East and West,” explained Batulla.
In addition, the dancer’s plasticity allows one to penetrate the theme much more than the dialogues familiar to the audience. Words only complicate our lives, because with their help we can lie, Nurbek believes, the body is more honest – it does not lie.
Director of the festival “OWN” Irina Evdokimova said that they wanted to show “Alif” to the people of Yekaterinburg back in 2018, but at that time there was no support from the Ministry of Culture of the Sverdlovsk Region, and therefore the team could not bring a large creative group from Kazan with such a large-scale performance. At the same time, in addition to “Alif”, viewers will be able to see a number of other remarkable productions.
“The material presented will include the play “Moscow Speaks” based on the memoirs of Joseph Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva, and a wonderful production of “Olga. “Forbidden Diary” based on the diaries of Olga Bergolts, who reported from besieged Leningrad, “Netochka” based on the story by the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky,” Evdokimova explained. A total of 15 performances will be shown at various theater venues from September 27 to October 2.