The Worldview Sources of Bashkir Theater

Keywords: the Bashkir Theater, folklore, national traditions, myth, rituals, actor, Producer, performance.


The art of the Bashkir people, similarly
to the art of all the peoples of the world,
emerged in very early historical times
and has its unique roots, which lead
us into those remote times when the Bashkirs
worshiped pagan gods, and all of their life
was that of service to natural elements.
These were the times when the great epos
“Ural-batyr” was created, which in many
ways has conditioned the worldview and
world-perception of the Bashkir people during
the course of many centuries. Particularly
in the epic character of this work
and in its pure, unadulterated, direct pathos
lies the key to the romantically elevated
Bashkir performing art. Frequently even
presently, in the technological age
of all-pervading mercenary self-interest,
cold rationality and unlimited irony
in national theater, in some performances
a special style of pronunciation of the text
as a type of epic singing is preserved.
In any of the productions carried out by
the Bashkir State Mazhit Gafuri Academic
Theater of Drama — whether it be national,
Russian or Western European classics
or relevant contemporary dramaturgy —
it always has the sound of the unusual,
original, elevated, melodic, poetical intonation
of speech, characteristic only to the Bashkir
language. This peculiar intonation
is an integral part (ancient, mythological,
and archetypical) of the Bashkir consciousness
and its product — the Bashkir language,
in its sound and melody reminding heroic
chants: strict, measured, not restless, maybe, at
times harsh and at the same time soft.
The language is an invaluable repository of people’s ancient culture and history.
The Bashkir art of theatrical performance,
which aspires towards capacious relief forms,
parabolic, profound plot-generating meanings
and epic melodiousness, is in many ways
determined particularly by its mythological
world perception. The latter is genetically
intrinsic to the Bashkir people and is perceived
by them as “a genuine and maximally concrete
reality”. The worldview sources and folklore
traditions make it possible for the Bashkir
people to preserve their face and, keeping
up with the time, to orient themselves
on folklore traditions as the measure of things
and the reference point in the constantly
changing contemporary world. Therein
is contained the unique sense of motion
and development of the Bashkir theater:
to be con-temporary (in tune with the times),
but to base itself on the timeless
and the eternal.

The Art of Theater