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First performance of Central Asian theater in Japan - The Ilkhom Theatre (Uzbekistan)

The Ilkhom Theatre, a representative contemporary theatre company from Uzbekistan, has been invited to Japan for the first time by the Japan Foundation and will give performances at the Tokyo International Arts Festival opening in February. Founded in 1976 by the theatre director, and the company’s present artistic director, Mark Weil, The Ilkhom Theatre was called “The Theatre of Dissent” in the pre-perestroika Soviet Union. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the theatre has attracted international attention as a driving force among the theatrical circles in Central Asia.
To be performed this time is the company’s representative production, Imitations of The Koran, a work based the poem of the same title by Alexander Pushkin. This is the first time that Central Asian theatre will be presented in Japan. The great Russian author Pushkin composed the original long poem inspired by the Koran. The director Mark Weil took two years to complete this play as a form of discourse with the world-view expressed in Pushkin’s poem, and it was finished shortly after the terror attacks in the U.S. of Sept. 11, 2001.
The production features multi-media performances of video art, rock-flavored traditional music and dance set to a scenario of a poet attempting to direct a movie. There is no real story line to the play; instead a series of representational figures appear one after another, including a nabi (Islamic prophet), a fake nabi, the elderly, women, a night club hostess and others, amidst a discourse on the issues of Islamic faith and original sin contained in Pushkin’s poem. To correspond with the performances there will be a symposium on Central Asian culture and a concert by the lay’s musician-narrators.
+The Ilkhom Theatre presenting Imitations of The Koran
Based on a poem by Alexander Pushkin.
Director: Mark Weil
Length: 1:40. Performed in Russian with Japanese subtitle.
+Performance schedule
[Nagano performances]
Mar. 3-4, 2007
Post-performance talk following by Mark Weil (Ilkhom Theatre director) and Kazuyoshi Kushida (Director of Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre) is planned on March 4.
Venue: Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre Special Theatre
Organizer: Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre

[Tokyo performances, concert (program of the Tokyo Arts Festival)
Mar. 8-11, 2007
Venue: Park Tower Hall (Shinjuku, Tokyo)
Co-sponsorship: Art Network, Japan (NPO)
Post-performance talk following by Mark Weil (Ilkhom Theatre director) and Tomohiko Uyama (Professor of the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University) is planned on March 9.
[Symposium (After Mar. 10 performance)]
“New Culture in Central Asia Following the Dissolution of the Soviet Union”
[Concert (Mar. 11)]
Live performance by the narrator-musicians
Venue: Park Tower Hall (Shinjuku, Tokyo)
Co-organizer: Arts Network Japan (NPO)
+The Ilkhom Theatre Imitations of The Koran
+Tokyo International Arts Festival
+The Ilkhom Theatre