The Ilkhom Theatre Festival – An Exclusive Engagement for Seattle!
In some places, theatre isn’t just entertainment; it’s a political act. So it is with renowned Uzbek company, The Ilkhom Theatre. Led by founder Mark Weil, until his tragic death in 2007, Ilkhom has long spoken truths that censors don’t like – from the Soviets in the 1970s to religious fundamentalists today. ACT Theatre will launch their 2008 season with two of his plays exploring the dicey terrain where East meets West. Experience the power theatre can have when the stakes are high.
The Ilkhom Theatre Company is one of the first professional theatres in the history of the former USSR not dependent on any state money. It was founded in 1976 by director Mark Weil (1952-2007), who served as Ilkhom’s artistic director. The theatre’s vision, created by and upheld for Weil, focuses on artistic excellence and social vision, producing works that spark meaningful dialogue and explore with tenderness and unabashed truth the cultural, religious, and political interactions and conflicts between East and West.
Both plays touch upon gay themes. In one, the conflict of a boy who loves another boy despite his arranged marriage. The other explores the character’s enchantment with Bacha, a traditional Uzbek dance form in which men perform as women.
March 14 – April 6:
White White Black Stork, resembles a modern-day Romeo and Juliet and takes place at the end of the 20th century. It features a Sufi Muslim boy and girl born in the old city of Tashkent, both dreamers who do not observe the social conventions of their Sufi community. The boy falls in love with another boy, but submits to an arranged marriage to the girl, who also has another love. Their wedding leads to despair, family quarrels and untimely tragedy.
April 7 – 13:
Ecstasy With The Pomegranate, set in Tashkent during 1916-1917, is an epic dance theater work focusing on a fantastic and complex retelling of the life of painter Aleksandr Nikolaev who takes refuge in Uzbekistan in the months preceding the Russian Revolution of 1917. He falls in love with Uzbeki culture, converts to Islam, and adopts the name Usto Mumin. He becomes enchanted with Bacha, a traditional Uzbek dance form in which men performed as women, that was abolished after the Revolution and the rise of Stalin.
Highly kinetic with beautiful and straightforward storytelling, White White Black Stork and Ecstasy With The Pomegranate will be performed in Russian and Uzbek. Supertitles, as well as the movement-based storytelling, make the pieces easy to follow and universally accessible.
Tickets are $10/$15 (for students/people 25 and under) to $55 and available at www.acttheatre.org or by calling (206) 292.7676.
Pay-What-You-Will: Sun., March 16, 7:30 p.m. and Thurs., March 27, 2:00 p.m.
Beer Tasting, March 21 at 6:30 pm.
Who says beer and theatre don’t mix? Before the show, audiences can sample delicious brews selected by the Michael Jackson Rare Beer Club, along with carefully paired snacks. This event takes place courtesy of Beverage Bistro of Redmond.
InterACT, April 4 at 6:30 pm.
Make a night of it! Bring friends (or cozy up to some new ones) to the most collectively connected night of theater in town. Audiences mix and mingle at ACT before the third Friday performance of each Mainstage production with complimentary cocktails and scrumptious snacks. Then, enjoy the performance and stick around for additional post-play entertainment.