Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2005 (13.3)
Page 91

Puppeteers Thrill Warsaw

Hajibeyov's "Cloth Peddler" Performed at Festival
by Ulviyya Mammadova

All photos by Witek Hebanowski

Puppeteers, Arshin Mal AlanAzerbaijan's Marionette Theater delighted Polish audiences at the annual Transcaucasia Festival in Warsaw from September 14-17, 2005. It was the first time that the theater group had gone abroad in 14 years.

Left: Puppeteers perform a scene from Hajibeyov's Arshin Mal Alan.

Azerbaijan has one of the very few Marionette Theaters in the world. It was organized in 1993 by Tarlan Gorchu. The theater features Uzeyir Hajibeyov's dearly loved musical comedy, "Arshin Mal Alan" (The Cloth Peddler) written in 1913. In the story, a rich merchant disguises himself as a cloth peddler in order to enter the courtyards to choose a bride, since women were always veiled.

The Baku team took 24 exquisitely detailed marionettes to Warsaw including the characters of Asgar, Gulchohra, Asgar, Vali, Sultan bey and Aunt. There were also characters from the Old City of Baku (Ichari Shahar) plus a camel and some birds. The music was pre-recorded. Ilgar Muradov sings Asgar's role and Khuraman Gasimova sings Gulchohra.

Tarlan Gorchu Arshin Mal Alan Puppet show in Warsaw Arshin Mal Alan Puppet show in Warsaw

Above, left to right: 1. Tarlan Gorchu, who conceived of the marionette theater and directs it.
2 & 3. Polish audiences in Warsaw at the Transcaucasian Festival.

Vali, Marionette in Arshin Mal AlanMarionette performances require incredible coordination and teamwork. A maximum of five puppeteers can be "on stage" at one time.

Left: Vali, a marionette in Arshin Mal Alan.

Other crewmembers operate lighting and assist with transforming the stage and decorations and preparing marionettes for the upcoming scenes. Other stage crew who joined Tarlan Gorchu in Warsaw include Hikmat Huseinov, Hasan Yagubov, Ilgar Rasulov, Mehman Musabeyov, Rizvan Alasgar, Ramiz Aliyev, Abbasali Mustafayev.

The program was sponsored by Warsaw Municipality and initiated by Studio O of Poland under the management of Witek Hebanowski. TVP 3, televised them. The puppeteers soon hope to return to Poland for a month and perform in three different cities.

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