The Nauruz Festival kicked off this morning with the Chuvash State Puppet Theater’s Flop-Eared Ilyuk, the tale of a young elephant’s adventures as he makes the long journey from his home and loving parents in India to the far-off land of Chuvashia, where he has promised to meet his dear friend, the Chuvash beauty Hevedus.
The forty-minute solo marionette was performed by Yurii Filippov, entirely in Chuvash, in accordance with the festival’s explicit allegiance to native languages. As part of the Chuvash theater’s repertoire, both Chuvash and Russian versions are usually staged, always with the songs in Chuvash, in the words of the play’s program, “to preserve the national color of the play.”
It was interesting to see the competing ideas of the exotic– exotic India at the center, exploring the unknown north, being amazed by the endless Volga, and arriving at the welcoming hearths of the unknown and truly exotic Chuvashia.
Flop-Eared Ilyuk, premiered 17 December 2008. Forty minutes, no intermission. Performance at noon, May 30, 2011 at the Akiat Tatar State Puppet Theater.