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About the death of Mark Weil, Artistic Director of Ilkhom Theatre, Uzbekistan (Sep 7, 2007)

Mr. Mark Weil   Photo: Hitoshi Furuya
Imitations of the Koran
Imitations of the Koran
Ilkhom Theater Imitations of the Koran
Late on the night of September 6, Mark Weil, Artistic Director of Ilkhom Theatre (Uzbekistan) was attacked by an unknown assailant in his home in Tashkent and died the next morning. In March of this year, Mr. Weil visited Japan to give a performance tour in Matsumoto and Tokyo at the invitation of the Japan Foundation.

In 1976, the late Mr. Weil formed the first independent theater company in the former Soviet Union in Tashkent (capital of the present Uzbekistan), the country’s 4th largest city. He named it the Ilkhom Theatre, taking the Arabic word Ilkhom, which means “inspiration. ” In the 30 years since then, he served as artistic director and, in doing so, he became a leader of the theater scene of Central Asia. The theatrical legacy left by Mr. Weil and the Ilkhom Theatre stands as an artistic record of political, social and cultural events and issues of those years.

The play Imitations of the Koran performed by Weil’s Ilkhom Theater is based on a poem by the famous Russian poet of the early 20th century, Alexander Pushkin, which was inspired by the holy scriptures of the Koran. Just as Pushkin was inspired by the Koran, Weil was inspired to do an interpretation of Pushkin’s poem, and what he showed us was not only a work that asked questions about “tolerance in the present day” but also a strong expression of the will to win the freedom to create, no matter what the subject might be.

It fills us with both anger and sadness that Mr. Weil’s creativity was brought to an end by an act of violence.

We pray that the soul of Mark Weil will rest in peace and also that his spirit will live on in the Ilkhom Theater and in people with the heart to carry on now that he is no longer with us.
+Ilkhom Theater website (English)