For a very long time theatre played a major role in entertaining people. Theatre would be a clear indicator of the cultural tendencies of the society. Uzbek theatre played an important role in the cultural development of the Uzbek socialist society, and Abrar Khidoyatov was one of the main figures of the development of Uzbek theatre. Born into a family of a craftsman, Abrar grew up in one of the working class «mahallas»(Uzbek term for community) of Tashkent. Abrar’s father was a brick layer by day, and a storyteller by night. Every night he would take his son to a local “choyhona”(Uzbek for tea place) where local people would share news, drink tea, play games, and sing songs. This was where Abrar got his first experience of entertainment. He loved to listen to local singers sing Uzbek folk songs, and by the age of 10 taught himself to play a «Dutare»(Uzbek folk music instrument). Nothing brought more joy to him than singing, and by the age of 14 he was a famous local singer, eventually making it into acting.

At 16 years Abrar was gaining experience and fame in his homeland’s theatre that was transitioning from its amateur entertainment status, towards a serious and professional institution. His strong charisma and dedication towards his craft developed him into a considerable actor and it didn’t take long before his talent was noticed. His ability to transform from one character to another would mesmerize audiences. Abrar’s career spanned for over 40 years, during which he brought many characters to life. In 1935 he starred in William Shakespeare’s play, “Hamlet”. Shakespeare’s characters were defined by their complexities, and playing Hamlet was a serious challenge. A challenge that inspired Abrar to reach for greater heights and showed his depth as an actor. Yet his biggest role was still to come.

In 1941 Abrar played the leading character, Othello, from the play “Othello” written by Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s wordplay and Abrar’s talent created magic on stage. It was very dear to him, because he felt a connection to Othello’s character. The role defined his career and made him famous in global theatre community. He would go on to play it over 500 times in the next 17 years, selling out theatres almost every time. As a result, literature and Shakespeare’s works gained more notoriety in Uzbek society. Abrar Khidoyatov achieved legendary status in Uzbek theatre, he left a cultural impact on his generation by being a master of his craft and dedicating his life to his passion.

A dream for any stage actor…

WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM #23 AUTUMN 2016  text by Abror Kurbanov