The Bolshoi Drama Theater of Turkmenistan has prepared the premiere of the play The Bear by the Russian writer and playwright Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. The first spectators of the production were colleagues of Ashgabat theaters and the creative commission. The stage director was the Honored Artist of the country Gulyalek Akmuradova, this is the second work of the actress as a production director.
“I have long dreamed of creating a play based on Chekhov’s drama and, we can say that this production is a kind of gift for women for the upcoming holiday on March 8, – says Gulyalek Akmuradova. – The comedy reflects the relationship between a man and a woman and, despite its light form – a one-act vaudeville – it touches on deep themes. In many ways, it is also a story about the unpredictability of life. Just think about it, the main character comes to collect the debt from the heroine and literally in two hours the world they exist turns upside down.”
In 2020, Anton Chekhov turned 160 years old. In the anniversary year of the writer, many of his immortal works, including The Bear, were staged on the world scene.
The plot of the play, written in 1888, remains relevant and understandable to the public to the present time. The widowed landowner Elena Ivanovna Popova does not leave her home for six months, since the death of her husband. She cannot cope with the loss of her husband, and then the landowner Georgy Smirnov came with an unexpected visit, demanding to return the money lent by the late lamented of Elena Ivanovna. Resistance and stubbornness, the struggle of the heroes with each other, the eternal dispute – who is right man or woman, lead to the opposite effect and the relationship of George and Elena develops into something completely different.
Russian theater director Gulyalek Akmuradova continues, “After watching the play, my colleagues and I discussed how close we were able to touch the Russian classics and understand the mysterious Russian soul. For me, this play is about true pure love, because the characters ought to meet in order not only to learn each other, but also, first of all, to gain an insight into themselves. Sometimes we don’t know what to expect from ourselves. “Never say never!” Chekhov very subtly emphasizes the immutable truth of the life.”
Several translations of the play were considered for the production of the play in the main theater of Turkmenistan. The choice fell on the work of the People’s Artist Durdy Saparov. In 1976, the play The Bear was broadcast on a local radio channel, and the actor worked personally on the accuracy of the translation. He managed to convey a complex Russian text in such a way that it did not lose its meaning, but on the contrary, acquired new intonation notes peculiar to the Turkmen language. Furthermore, the words ‘lady’, ‘bill’ and some others remained in the Turkmen version without changes.
“Of course, showing a performance for colleagues is still a test, but the biggest test is still ahead – continues Gulyalek Akmuradova. – I’m anxiously expecting the opening of the theater season so that we can present our new work to the general public.”
Gulyalek Akmuradova chose the cast, relying on her own flair. The title roles are performed by the leading actress of the theater Shemshat Kasymova (Elena Popova) and Azat Didarov (Georgy Smirnov). According to the stage director, the artists managed to fully embody the conceived images. This was facilitated by the manner the performance was staged, and the musical accompaniment saturation – from the classical works of Pyotr Tchaikovsky to the Russian folk song Oh Frost, Frost.
“The public attends a theater to watch a good performance of good plays, and not the play itself: the play can be read, – the stage director quotes the words of playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. – The reviews of my comrades in the theater shop are mostly positive, but if at least 10 out of a hundred viewers understand the semantic message that I lay in the play, then I will be happy.”