Puppet Theater in Khiva
Puppet shows are a long tradition of many countries of the world. In the Middle Ages during fairs and folk festivals puppet plays for the people were held in noisy, crowded squares. On the primitive, fast-tracked scaffolding with a screen, there were mini-scenes about people, the rich and the poor, loyalties of lovers, amity and perfidy.
The tradition of the puppet show in Uzbekistan dates back to the IV century BC, to the era of the Achaemenids. However, the puppet theater became widespread only in the XIV century, during Timur’s and the Timurids’ governing. The puppet theaters and glove puppets have been very popular for centuries. Puppet performances are still presented in the theatrical art of Uzbekistan.
The State puppet theater of the Khorezm region, located in Khiva, has its own special color. This is the only Uzbekistan puppet theater, where one can still feel the spirit of medieval bazaar performances: scenery, dolls, stories, the manner of playing actors take us centuries ago. That is why, the Khiva puppet theater is so popular not only among the inhabitants of Uzbekistan, but also is accepted with delight by foreign audiences.
The puppet theater of Khiva is located near the historical heart of Khiva - a medieval city behind a massive fortress wall - Ichan-Kala. Here, on any day of the week, one can see colorful folklore performances, fascinating national Khorezm dances, various puppet shows.
History of the formation of the Puppet Theater in Khiva
Twenty years ago in Khiva a circle of puppet shows worked. In 1993, thanks to the support of the local administration, in the historical building the first and only puppet theater in Khorezm region with 289 places was opened in the fortress of Ichan-Kala. Its first troupe included fellows of the former circle. The current theater consists of 20 people, among whom there are young and talented men and women. They adopt the mastery of puppeteers according to the ancient Uzbek tradition of Usto-Shogird (from master to student).
Artists do not only stage a show, but make ready for the scenery, sew puppets and outerwear, play musical instruments, dance and sing. The repertory of the Khorezm state puppet theater includes folklore and children's programs, covering about 60 performances. The most popular are "Khiva Lyazgi" and "Khon Kabuli". The hero of many productions is the popular favorite hero Khoja Nasreddin. Performances are shown in Uzbek. However, even in the Uzbek language, performances are understandable. The actors' play is so emotional that everything is clear without words.
Many performances and shows, "animating" dolls, such as "Golden Watermelon", "The Tale of Shohsanam", "African Song", "Golden fish", "Tutikhon show", "New Year's Tale" and others became favourite not only among domestic, but also foreign viewers.
Ancient traditions and customs are not one hundred years old. In fairy tales the whole essence and history of culture of Uzbekistan is hidden. Wisdom, kindness and selflessness are glorified in them; and various vices are ridiculed as opposed to this.
If you are lucky to be in Khiva, take the opportunity to visit Uzbek puppet show in Ichon-Qala, Khiva. Peopletravel Company will gladly support you in arranging Uzbekistan tours. Do not miss your chance; be sure to visit the show. You will have many impressions, we promise.