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EDINBURGH, 26 August 2018 – OTOSOTR (On the Other Side of the River), a monodrama written, directed and performed by Kazakhstani artists Anatoliy Ogay and Tatyana Kim, has won the Asian Arts Awards Committee's Innovation Award at the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom Erlan Idrissov, who attended the performance congratulated Ogay and Kim on their achievements at the festival.
“Such performances serve as a vivid manifestation of the creative potential of modern Kazakh youth. It was a great pleasure for me to watch the show. This drama clearly demonstrates the connection between generations. It is about war and peace, good and the evil. It is deeply symbolic and especially relevant today, when it seems that intolerance and violence are spreading all around us. It is also a vibrant portrayal of Kazakhstan, its complicated modern history and the spirit of tolerance and mutual respect that are entrenched in the Kazakh society," said Ambassador Idrissov.
Ogay, who wrote the monodrama and is its main and sole performer, tackles the phenomenon of war and peace by tracing the life of his grandfather, after whom he was named. It is the story of one of more than 200,000 ethnic Koreans who were deported from the Soviet-Korean border in 1937 all the way to Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
“Back in 2012, Anatoliy came up with the idea of recording interviews with his grandfather. There were two such interviews in the course of two years. And then he reworked the facts from these interviews into such an artistic form of a monodrama," explains Tatyana Kim, the performance director.
The main character uses music, song, and narration to reproduce the journey of a seventeen-year-old soldier who fought all the way to Berlin in 1945, survived the communist regime and preserved his Korean identity and love for humankind throughout his life.
“We want to be the ones who tell new stories about Kazakhstan, the stories of individuals and families. We, young Kazakhstanis, can show what Kazakhstan is about, what people are like and what art is like in Kazakhstan at an international level. We hope that by looking at us, ordinary guys, other young people will also be inspired to perform on international venues," said Kim.
OTOSOTR, which stands for “On the Other Side of the River", successfully premiered in May 2018 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where it received positive reviews from Kazakh critics. It will also be presented at the UNITED SOLO (New York, USA), the world's biggest festival of solo performances, next autumn (Oct. 27).
The OTOSOTR team, Ogay and Kim, who are also life partners, started their artistic journey in the Kazakh English Language Theatre at the KIMEP University in Almaty. Having received their master's degrees from top Californian art schools, they have worked in cinema, theatre, and music industries for more than 10 years. Their numerous international awards include Best Director and Best Actor awards at Scotland's The Monthly Film Festival in 2015.