Tuesday, 17 July 2018

OTOSOTR Dramaturgy: Anatoliy Ogay & Tatyana Kim @ Edfringe 2018


OTOSOTR
A war story through the eyes of millennials

Underbelly, Cowgate, 66 Cowgate, EH1 1JX (White Belly) @ 18:40

For the first time in the history of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a show from the steppes of Kazakhstan by ethnic Koreans whose first language is Russian will be presented at the Underbelly. 

This monodrama is written and performed by Anatoliy Ogay and directed by Tatyana Kim, artists from Kazakhstan whose works are being performed from Eurasia to North America. The premiere of OTOSOTR was first presented in Almaty, Kazakstan with three successful sold-out shows in May 2018 and was highly reviewed by the main media outlets of the country.

The story is an exploration of the phenomenon of war and peace by the new generation and a search for identity by the author through the story of his grandfather, one of the two hundred thousand Koreans who was deported from the Russian-Korean boarder in 1937 all the way to Soviet Kazakhstan.

The story of the oppressed Koreans, known as “Soviet Koreans” or Koryo-saram, is an unknown history fact of a lost nation. OTOSOTR is a unique opportunity to learn about the part for the world that has never been seen or heard before. 

Dates & Times
AUG 2 through AUG 26 (exl AUG 13)— 18:40

What was the inspiration for this performance?

A: OTOSOTR was initially inspired by my grandfather who’s a child of a massive Korean deportation to Central Asia in 1937. His family was deported to Kazakhstan on freight trains… That how you find Koreans from Kazakhstan whose first language is Russian.  I felt an urge to take an interview with and somehow capture his story, my story, the story of two hundred thousand Koreans who end in Kazakhstan in the middle of XXs century. 

Little I knew back then that it was the first step of a 5-year process of creating this monodrama. In the wilds of the research and working with the source material I realized that there is more in common between me and my grandfather, as well as between now and WWII occurrences. 

I think dramaturgically any theatre should raise strong probing questions in their work. Our piece raises a few of them, with the main focus on “who decides to belong side you belong?” 
 
Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

T: While in the show we’re painting the scenes from 70 years, while we’re looking at the main political figures of that time there’s still a disturbing feeling that the history repeats itself in a different form. Nowadays, we’re all tech savvy right and have computers in our pockets that could process thousands of operations at the same time. 

However, I believe it is also the right time to start using our main computer, our brain and its capability to analyze, and learn from our mistakes in the past. Also, a lot of questions arise once the values of those times are put on the scale against today’s values. Words like patriotism, homeland and sense of dignity for your country are confronted with the modern tendency for individualism, globalization and general focus on ephemeral things. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

A: When you have a habit to create, with time it becomes only a matter of time that you dedicate to a certain project. As with any theater show, the conception of OTOSOTR was happening over a 5-year span. 

As I mentioned it started from an interview, continued with some character analysis I did based on my grandfather, some free-writing, first drafts, musical compositions, public readings. It’s important to mention that the work exists in two languages for both of which we held public readings with the feedback sessions. 

It was very important for us to have our hands on the pulse of the both audiences because because those talk-backs would shape the next draft. And while culturally Kazakhstan with it’s eclectic Asian flavor and the Soviet influence is quite different from the West, on the basic level we as humans are still the same, we crave for a good story, we share feelings and emotions and also speak the language of music fluently.

All of these things OTOSOTR is giving to its audience and hopefully we can hear and see more of the stories from the third world countries to better understand the picture of the modern world. 

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Y: The show is from the part of the world that most people know nothing about except for a few things or people from the media. Our goal here is to tell a good story that the audience can connect with. 

However, how you’re telling that story in two different languages, for two different cultures is a different thing. We still want to give not just the flavor but to immerse the audience  in the world of the main hero but without overloading them with names and numbers that might be hard task for the mind that wants to be taken on a journey rather than be trapped in the sea of the unknown. 

At the same time because music is a big part of this show, we made sure that pivotal moments of the plot are being available for the audience to digest. Music is a beautiful language of the soul.  

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

A: It is definitely an unusual production for us at least because it’s our first solo-show. With every project we try to step further and make a stretch into the area that is unexplored by us. We work in different mediums including theatre, filmmaking, music and everything that comes in making those happen. 

Between film shoots, music recording, writing a screenplay there are also rehearsals for OTOSOTR happening. I think it’s a matter of time management and actually putting it on the calendar. We put all 100% of our focus and heart in this work, but at the same time there are several other things of the same importance boiling in the pot. 

Sometimes you get a project from the pot for two hours, sometimes for several days, with OTOSOTR we’re spending the entire month of August and then putting it back till next time, which is in October. The show will be presented at United Solo Theater Festival in New York. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

A: “A war story through the eyes of millennials”. The story opens a dialog with my generation for whom WWII narrative as far as the narrative of ancient Greek wars. 

My knowledge about the war comes not only from the books or Hollywood movies, it comes from the person with whom I share an identical name - my grandfather Anatoliy Ogay. OTOSOTR raises universal questions about race, identity and dignity put against the massive beast of the governmental influences. At the same time, the show will help an older generation to understand millennials, and our urge to vlog, follow, run with selfie-sticks, but in reality, just to share and express our opinions freely. 


Anatoliy Ogay traces his grandfather's journey into the depth of WWII incorporating innovative technologies, tenacious textures of contemporary piano music and main artistic intensity of a solo performance — shifting transformations into captivating characters. 
This extraordinary story has already been accepted to the world’s biggest festival of solo performances UNITED SOLO in New York, USA and will follow it’s European premiere in Edinburgh. 
Anatoliy Ogay and Tatyana Kim are artistic and life partners who have been in the entertainment industry for over 10 years working in film, theatre, and music. Their short film “Tragiometry” received numerous international awards around the globe, including Scotland’s TMMF Awards - best director and best actor in 2016. 


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