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Successful Premiere of a Spectacle about the Great Turkic Military Leader took place in Tuva

In Kyzyl, the premiere of the spectacle “Kultegin”, produced by director Alexei Oorzhak after the epic drama by Eduard Mizhit, was presented to a full house. The subject of the drama is based on the text of the famous monument of Orkhon-Yenisei writing of VI-VII Centuries, carved on a stone stele, concerning the life history of the “hero of all Turks”, Kultegin, Prince of the Eastern Turkic Khanate.

As attested by historians, during Kultegin’s time, the union of steppe nomads grew very strong, and reached such military power, that even Chinese Emperors were afraid of it.

The runic monument itself, called by the name of the legendary warrior, is considered by scientists to be the first example of ancient Turkic literature, earlier by 300 years than the Slavic “Slovo o polku Igoreve” , and by 400 years earlier than the “Secret History of the Mongols”.

The press of the Republic called the spectacle “a true masterpiece”, even though the expectations were different. There were doubts about the outcome, because the modest means of the Tuvan Theatre of Music and Drama were not thought to be proportionate to the grandiose format of epic dramas. According to the Ministry of Culture, the budget for “Kultegin” was only 700 thousand rubles.

But the modesty of the budget was amply compensated for by the shining directing work, talented acting and enthusiasm. All the material props of the spectacle – from the stage decorations to the costumes, were made in the workshops of the theatre, and exclusively from natural materials – leather, furs, and others.

Beside that, a certain watchfulness was at first provoked by the fact that the theater was turning to historical personages and events of ancient Asia, in which many see the symbolic basis for the contemporary ideology of pan-turkism. At least, a question on the subject of such a possible undercurrent was asked during a pre-premiere press conference for local media.

However, the authors of “Kultegin” see similar suggestions of possible political undercurrents based on ethnicity , in their creation, as strange.

“In that case, I would have to be an agent in at least two special services, Turkish and Mongolian, commented the director of the spectacle, Alexei Oorzhak, on the pan-turkic allusions. “ In fact, before “Kultegin”, I produced a play about the right hand of Genghis-khan, Subedei, and also I helped Yakut Andrei Borisov to film the movie about Genghis-khan himself.”

If there is a hidden message to contemporary politicians in “Kultegin”, the director explains, then it is a very simple one - the maturity of the leaders, big and small, consists in their ability to put the interests of the nation above their own lives. And this ability is relevant for politicians of all times and nations, regardless of their nation, race, or other affinities.

In truth, the authors of the project admitted that for this reason they took liberty with history, inventing their own ending for Kultegin.

In reality, as is well known, he died at the age of 48 years of complications of old injuries in his own camp. However, the spectacle culminates by Kultegin, in one of the unequally balanced battles, giving himself voluntarily up into captivity, going to certain death, in exchange for prolonged period of peace for his people.

Nevertheless, even long before the premiere, a lively interest in “Kultegin was shown not only by local audiences, but also by theatrical groups of other Russian regions with Turkic-language populations, but also in foreign countries. As the director of the Tuvan Theatre of Music and Drama, Nachyn Shalyk, related, in a few days, the General Secretary of International organization TURKSOY, Dyusen Kaseinov, is coming to Tuva to evaluate the possibility of taking the Tuvan production of “Kultegin” on tour beyond the borders of Tuva and of Russia.

Already in 2007 TURKSOY offered to work out a tour itinerary for the spectacle. Besides the Republics of Russia with national theatres, other countries were to be included, among them Turkey, which was prepared to actually designate several venues for the showing.

With the change in leadership in 2008, this project stalled, but now, after the premiere, the Tuvan theatre is ready to renew the discussions to organize the tour.

Heda Jindrak, after information of
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