based on Macbeth by William Shakespeare


Buryat Drama Theatre, Ulan-Ude
Director Oleg Yumov

Shakespeare’s Macbeth conquers the Asian steppe.

After a glorious victory in an unequal battle, the commander Maksar meets the spirits of the great steppe on his way back to Khana. The messengers of fate foretell him of a grand future. Some of their predictions come true. Maksar along with his wife kills the Khan, but this is not enough for him, he goes further beyond the prophecies spilling blood across the steppe.

The young director from Bashkiria, Oleg Yumov, who studied directing under Sergei Zhenovach at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS), transplants Macbeth’s plot to the Buryat-Mongolian steppe. The play contains magnificent national costumes and sword fighting scenes as well as throat singing accompanied by authentic folk instruments. Nevertheless, the oriental setting is framed by a modern ascetic stage design and constrained European direction is applied to the acting. The play is produced by a person with an Eastern outlook using a European tool kit. With these tools he extracts an archetypical plot from Shakespeare’s tragedy. The plot could be described through the words of another Asian director, Ang Lee famous for his movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon:

“There is something which we, men, cannot comprehend. It belongs to a woman. There nest our forbidden wishes, there live the hidden dragons.”

Elena Kovalskaya