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10:13 16 January
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British literary critic delivers lecture about Azerbaijani writer Elchin

Baku – APA. On 21 November, The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) sponsored a lecture at Pushkin House, London, entitled The Theatre of Genius: Examining the Life and Work of Professor Elchin Efendiyev, written and delivered by the leading literary critic, poet and dramaturge David Parry, Co-founder of the Gruntlers’ Arts Group.

Despite writing more than 100 books, translated into more than 40 languages, being on the Azerbaijani school curriculum and coming from a long line of literary forebears, Professor Elchin Efendiyev remains virtually unknown in the West. David explained: “The reason for this shocking omission is to be found in the sphere of recent international politics, whereby the ‘Iron Curtain’ drawn between the Soviet sphere and Western powers proved to be an almost impenetrable block to cutting-edge artistic exchange.” David particularly emphasised Professor Elchin’s relationship to the Dadaist enterprise that flourished in the years immediately following the First World War, where “revolutionaries sliced into the substance of revered cultural structures”, and comedy was placed on parity with accepted concepts of ‘high’ art. Initially coming to prominence during the 1960s, the author worked within the limitations placed upon him by the Soviet regime, cleverly harnessing the approved conception of ‘realism’ to subvert authority and amuse audiences.

David commented: “His work led to the evolution of an experimental form of stagecraft known as ‘Elchin Theatre’. This is a subtle methodology, blending both recognisable national traits with a broader sense of the human condition.” He went on to compare his work with that of Henrik Ibsen, whose minimalist staging and approach towards his characters’ interiority created a transcendent state of meaning. David also drew comparisons between Professor Elchin’s stagecraft and Mike Leigh’s approach to film, where actors are invited to develop their characterisations and improvise, with their interpretation resulting in a finalised script.
David concluded by inviting all those present to attend the inaugural English-language production of Shakespeare: A Comedy in Ten Scenes both Serious and Tragic. Produced by the Gruntlers’ Theatre Group and sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the UK, this landmark production will take place at The Horse Hospital, The Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 1JD.

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