Farid Bikchantaev: ''This year we will go to Oslo''
The calendar year doesn't coincide with the theatrical year. This is why theatres usually neither draw conclusions nor make plans for the future. But 2017 won't be boring for sure, thinks Farid Bikchantaev, head director of the Tatar State Academic Theatre named after G. Kamal. In his New Year column, he tells about his plans and dreams for 2017. He is waiting for new names of young dramatists to be discovered as well as a long-awaited participation of the theatre in Ibsen Festival in Norway.
I don't have any big tremor before the New Year. But the theatre has its own rituals one week before it. For instance, in December, we had a contest for the best adorned dressing room. If you go along the second floor – all rooms are open – you will see that actors are spending this time in a competition mode. We set up a live tree in the foyer on 20 December. I always set up a live tree at home like I used to do when I was a kid. It is my childhood memory of the New Year at the theatre.
For me, the end of the year it is not time to draw conclusions because a new year at the theatre is in September when a new season starts. Conclusions are drawn in May. We will start 2017 with tours in January. It is a traditional event – we go to Moscow twice a year with a new repertoire and several plays that spectators like. The tours began again after a long break in 2006. They are always performed to a full house.
We are likely to perform a play by Norwegian dramatist Jon Fosse A Summer's Day. We already staged the play in Shanghai, Hungary, Saint Petersburg, Moscow (we were nominated for Golden Mask).
At the end of January I will go to Norway at the invitation of the head of an international festival in Tromsø (Norway) and head of Ibsen Festival in Oslo where we are likely to perform a play by Norwegian dramatist Jon Fosse A Summer's Day. We already staged the play in Shanghai, Hungary, Saint Petersburg, Moscow (we were nominated for Golden Mask).
Naturally, premieres are important plans for us in 2017. We are rehearsing a play of Tatar poet and dramatist Ildar Yuzeyev. The premiere is due to take place in April. The small hall will host Éric-Emmanuel Schmit's plays Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran and young dramatist Syumbel Gaffarova's I remember. Her play drew much attention in the international laboratory of modern plays, which was in Shanghai. We also will perform this play in Shanghai at a festival. We will gladden those people who worry that we bring only foreign authors' play to international festivals. So it is a remarkable event.
We can't not help but pay attention to Chelny, Nizhnekamsk, Almetyevsk. We will have a tour in these cities in February. In February, we will host the Russian Drama Theatre from Ufa. The Bashkir Academic Theatre will come in April. In June, we will traditionally celebrate Nowruz where we will bring a collective from Estonia with a play staged by Yakut director S. Potapov. It is funny and curious experience!
We are rehearsing a play by Tatar poet and dramatist Ildar Yuzeyev. The premiere is due to take place in April.
A change of the format of New Tatar Play competition will be an important event. Successful dramatists compete there as usual. Consequently, the same people win. We thought we needed to care for the future and decided to hold the contest as a laboratory: we will select people who would like to try their hand in dramaturgy. We will help them reach a professional level together with experts at the theatre.
So I hope that 2017 will be a year that will open new names for us. I don't know whether there will be many authors. At the moment we asked the university to offer us talented people who we could bring up. Dramaturgy is a complicated job that needs tried and tested skills. A person can be born to become an actor, it is not likely to be the case of dramatists. The world can give us a new Moliere or Shakespeare once in thousand years.
As it is such a complicated profession, there always was a deficit of good plays. And it will always be. As a director, I always cry for a new material – times change, new plays and forms have appeared on the Russian stage. We also want to succeed there.