The Tales of Malik-Mammed
THE CHELSEA THEATRE
THE TALES OF MALIK-MAMMED
06 MARCH – 11 MARCH
THE CHELSEA THEATRE
The Azerbaijani word ‘terbiye’ is a hard-to-translate concept close to the English idea of ‘upbringing’. But if a British upbringing tends to focus on a nuclear family and later a child’s formal schooling, the Azeri version is a more universal process. Harking back to the time-honoured idea that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, it’s a term that encompasses the role that tradition and society play in nurturing the values of each new generation in Azerbaijan.
Folk tales and fairy stories play a huge and distinctive part in this, and no tale is more beloved among Azerbaijanis than the story of Malik-Mammed, the younger brother. But this is no Disneyland story of princesses in pastel shades, nor a Grimm tale emerging from the mists of the darkling forest. Instead it’s a sharply drawn, sometimes brutal legend of a battle between clearly defined good and evil. Our hero, a young man whose wisdom, courage and self-sacrifice achieve what his elders and supposed betters could not, is a simple, memorable embodiment of the principles of justice, of right and wrong. As he encounters dangerous ogres, beautiful maidens, treacherous brothers and mystical beasts, Malik-Mammed’s adventures teach us about love, honesty and betrayal before our hero finally receives his rightful reward.
Buta, which chose Malik-Mammed as the first of a series of traditional tales to be published in English, Azerbaijani and Russian with unique, specially commissioned artwork, is delighted to introduce this priceless folk heritage to London theatre audiences. A special family-friendly adaptation of the tale, written by Chris Bartlett and directed by Andy McQuade, brings the magical tale to life and is sure to delight viewers of all ages.
After all, in the words of the narrator of Malik-Mammed:
“Fairy tales make a child grown-up,
a stupid man clever,
a skinny man hearty,
an old man young,
a villain innocent and each of us
– if only for a moment – happy.
Fairy tales teach everyone a thing or two,
and will never bore the wise man.”