“We will start anyway”: how Kamal Theatre to open theatre season offline

For the first time after lifting the quarantine, the artists will take the stage on August 21

“We will start anyway”: how Kamal Theatre to open theatre season offline
Photo: Maksim Platonov

A cast meeting has recently taken place in the Kamal theatre in Kazan. The actors gathered “over the wall” — the broadcast from Zoom was conducted on the screen above the stage. Ilfir Yakupov, the theatre's director, and Farid Bikchantayev, the chief director, were right in the audience and told about the upcoming premieres of the season. The guest of the theatre, Minister of Culture of Tatarstan Irada Ayupova, said about when the theatre will start working.

'Black burka' as a gift

The main intrigue for the audience was the opening date of the new theatre season. It was allowed by Minister of culture of the Republic of Tatarstan Irada Ayupova. She did this, by the way, on her birthday.

“In August, if at least 50 percent of the hall is going to be full, the work can be started. But on August 21, we will start anyway. Rospotrebnadzor should give clear recommendations on the work of theatres. As soon as they appear, we will publish this information and the rules for working with artists, sitting arrangement, and operating the theatre as a whole will be clear. The main thing is that no one gets sick or suffers from infection, neither the artists nor the audience," said Irada Ayupova.

The minister also spoke with artists who attended the company's online gathering. “Tired of resting already?" she asked. The theatre staff congratulated the minister of culture of Tatarstan on her birthday. In addition to the festive bouquet, she was given a poster with a photo of a scene from her favourite performance of the Kamal Theatre — Kara Chikmen ('Black burka').

The actors gathered “over the wall” — the broadcast from Zoom was conducted on the screen above the stage

When and how to buy a theatre ticket

Irada Ayupova noted that in addition to the general work of the theatre in the new conditions, two issues remain controversial. The first question concerns the sitting arrangement. Spectators come to spend their leisure time with their families, so it is not practical to seat them through one or two chairs — people live together. Thus, when planning ticket sales, it is suggested to keep the family sitting arrangement. However, many people come to the theatre not only to watch the play but also to communicate with each other. Here, separately sitting spectators will also look strange.

The second point is that the main difficulties may arise not in the auditorium itself, but at the entrance or exit to it or to the theatre, in the corridors, buffet or toilets. We will also have to wait for a clear Rospotrebnadzor regulation, after which the regional headquarters will make specific decisions.

“We understand that it is impossible to sell tickets in one day. This is not a grocery basket that can be filled in one visit to the store. Certain work related to advertising, promotion, and marketing must be done here. Therefore, all cultural institutions today sell tickets for a 50% load of the hall, as soon as the decision is made by Rospotrebnadzor, the full sale begins. We hope that the number of infected will decrease every day. We see how the actors miss the stage, and the audience — the theatre," said Irada Ayupova.

The theatre's box office confirmed that ticket sales for the end of August and September started on July 14. Tickets are also sold online.

According to Farid Bikchantayev, it involves the entire company, all the theatre services, and this can be dangerous due to the spread of the virus

'The Blue Shawl' will be replaced by 'The Faded Stars'

Before the meeting, it was assumed that the first performance of the new season would be 'The Blue Shawl'. However, according to Farid Bikchantayev, it involves the entire company, all the theatre services, and this can be dangerous due to the spread of the virus:

“We have decided to show a more chamber-based performance. Perhaps, it will be 'The Faded Stars'. This is the premiere, we performed it only 2-3 times before the self-isolation regime. And opening the season with a musical performance, about Saydashev and Tinchurin — this is very good. Of course, I would like to start with the premiere, but I'm not sure if we will make it in time. We can't do rehearsals with a lot of actors. Besides, all accounts are closed until September 1, so it is difficult to buy anything for the performance, even materials for costumes. And the premiere is a play based on Ilgiz Zainiev's play 'Zhenyus.tat'. Before today's meeting, it was supposed to play the premiere on September 11. We will certainly try by August, but I'm not sure.

Season premiere

On November 7, the chief director plans to show the premiere of the play by Artur Shaydullin 'Sagynyrsyzmy?', which won first place in the competition The New Tatar Play in December 2019. The plans also include the play by Rkail Zaydulla 'The Double' — a sharp political work. Aydar Zabbarov started rehearsing a documentary project for the small stage of the theatre on July 15. After driving through the dying villages of Tatarstan, he finds people who still live in them. The performance will be made by a small group of 5-6 actors.

In general, the season will be difficult and unusual. We do not yet know how active the audience will be, there is a certain duality. On the one hand, it seems that people miss the theatre, on the other — many still avoid mass events. The economic blow that the pandemic inflicted on the Russians' wallets has also played a role. This is also an important factor, despite the fact that the price of tickets to our theatre has always been democratic. So we are still groping for our line of work in the new season," concluded Farid Bikchantayev.

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By Anna Tarletskaya
Tatarstan