Ovez Gelenov

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Ovez Gelenov

75 characters in theatre and 20 – in cinema – such is the result to date of the artistic activity of the People’s Artiste of Turkmenistan Ovez Gelenov. Moreover, the characters were of the most diverse: tragic and comedic, positive and negative, young and aged. Otherwise speaking, he is a many-sided artist, without any binding line of character.

- I was born in the desert, - Ovez Kuliyevich talks about himself jokingly, – since I am native of Tutly aul, situated 50 kilometers away from Kyzyl-Arvat city (now Serdar). A word “Tut” means a mulberry tree, but to the best of my recollection, there was no any tree. There were just several nomad tents, yurtas and one well which was used for needs of people, sheep, camels and goats. Now it is changed somehow of a certainty, but at the early 1950’s last century there was neither radio nor electric power. In the evenings we came together in yurta, with fireplace in the center, and its harsh smoke caused tearing of eyes and itchy throat. It was at that time when I had something artistic: I hummed something like a song and gathered the audience.

When I was 4, my mother talked father into moving to Kyzyl-Arvat. After Tutly, Kyzyl-Arvat in the opinion of child from outermost aul gave the impression of metropolis. Many people lived here, and trans passed through. Once, the artists of the Opera and Ballet Theatre came with a guest performance to our Culture Center. The townpeople had a splendid opportunity to hear three opera: «Shasenem and Garip», «Zohre and Takhir», «Kemine and kazy». I begged my mother to buy tickets. On the advertisement my mother saw a surname of her cousin – Hydyr Allanurov, an orchestra conductor People’s Artiste of Turkmenistan. Mother asked the controller to let us get inside. While she talked with our relative, I looked behind the curtains and was stunned. What a beauty - the scenery, props, costumes, make-up actors. I fell in love with this fabulous world, and from that moment I wished to become an artist.

My favorite subject in school was singing. I went up to the blackboard and sang sings which I heard on radio. In the fourth grade we got to be friends with Bilbil Mamedov (at present he is a well-known film director). He perfectly played dutar, and I sang songs. Then we began to create the interludes and performed them. We presented almost all school amateur performances. We were invited to the amateur talent groups of the Culture Center, and our performances with Bilbil were included to the concert program. Then we embarked on a tour to the nearest inhabited localities. Trip for a long time in the couchette car, which was presented to us by the sponsors of the railway-car repair plant, for many travelling artists was a problem, but Bilbil and I found romantic in the trip on wheels and performance before the new audience.

In the higher forms I, like many my peers, began to write poems. I was motivated by Aman Kekilov’s novel in verse “Love”. Surely, my poetic talent was not good enough for novel, but my three poems have been put to music, and these songs are popular among the singers up to date. These are «Doneyin» («I love you very much»), «Menzeyin» («You looking like my mother»), «Yk bolym» («My fate»). I have five song more, but only for performance at home.

In 1968 there was enrollment to the M.S. Schepkin High Theatre College at MHAT (Moscow Art Theatre). Bilbil and I entered the College. It was unspeakable happiness. Five years in Moscow, and we, boys from Kyzyl-Arvat, will become true artists!

We returned from Moscow with diplomas with honors. Part of our group was assigned to the Academic Drama Theater named after Mollanepes, other part – to the  Youth Theatre named after Aman Kulmamedov. I was assigned to the Youth Theatre and I have no regrets, because there worked Hummet Muluk, Aman Bayramberdyev, Oguldurdy Mametkulieva and others, who also has a Moscow education, and we easy understood each other.

My first character was Andriano in the play by Sergei Mikhalkov «Sombrero» staged by the director Bayram Seydullayev. Nobody recognized me in a moodily red-headed fellow with freckles. But my performance was recognized.

Later I played a negative hero Durdy, who was heartset on Tavus, but he knew that she loved other young man. But Durdy was richer and hoped to beg Tavus to be with him. Creating the image of Durdy, I recalled an advice of Stanislavski: when you play a bad person try to find something good in his character. I tried to express that he sincerely loves Tavus, maybe much more than her beloved. Thus, from the negative hero he turned into the tragic, and won compassion of the audience. My character was noted by critic.

Not long after I entered the theatre, I have got an invitation to one of the lead roles – sheepherder Muhammed in «Gold color» film of director Halmamed Kakabayev. The film is about the formation of the oil industry in our country. We stayed and screened the film in Barsa-Gelmes location, translated as “if you go - you will not return”. It was my debut in cinema, for Halmamed Kakabayev – a graduation work. It was very interesting to be among the oil workers and pursue their lifestyle.

In 1983 Makhtumkuly’s anniversary was widely celebrated. A play by the People’s writer of Turkmenistan Annaberdy Agabayev «Makhtumkuli Fragi» was put on stage. The stage director Bayram Seydullayev invited me to act the part of Makhtumkuli, who was over 80 according to play. I refused for a long time, arguing that I was 33, and that artists meeting the age requirements will rise to the role better. “There is romantic in your soul, Hummet Muluk could act this part, but h is in hospital now” - replied the director.

I entered on the stage with full confidence that I’ll be a flop. 40 pages of text of my favorite poet I must deliver so that the audience must believe: I am - Makhtumkuli. But when applause broken out, I breathed again.

When the journalists ask me, which character is my favorite, I feel confusion. The fact is that when I was young, I liked one type of roles, through the years – other characters.