A group of villagers is held in thrall by omnipotent rulers, who warn that misfortune will befall the inhabitants if they defy authorities. And then, one day, the emperor is revealed to have no clothes.
On a recent Friday evening in Kazakhstan’s cultural capital, Almaty, a small audience was transfixed by the story unfolding on the stage in Avalanche, a play by Turkish playwright Tuncer Cücenoğlu.
Avalanche is a tale of a village whose inhabitants walk on eggshells because their rulers have convinced them that if they flout strict rules governing their everyday lives, they will spark an avalanche that will engulf them.
A childbirth breaks the spell: as the rulers order a woman buried alive for going into labor without authorization, the child is born. The commotion fails to bring down a disastrous avalanche, and the leaders are revealed to have lied and manipulated to keep the people in check.
To read the full story
Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.