David Parry — Evangelist for Elchin Afandiyev


Producer David Parry is the man who brought Citizens Of Hell to the UK, the first production in the West or in English of this play by Elchin Afandiyev.

Last month, the play Citizens Of Hell was performed at the Theatro Technis in North London – see report for July 26. It was only a small production at a community theatre, but there is one man who hopes to see a mighty oak grow from this tiny acorn. The play was directed by lecturer David Parry, and it is important because? This was the first performance in the West and in English of this miniature, which was written by Elchin Afandiyev, who is a politician as well as a playwright in Azerbaijan.

On the Saturday following its premiere, producer Parry and the rest of his small but enthusiastic team mingled with representatives of the Azerbaijan Government. The play was sponsored by the country’s Ministry Of Culture And Tourism, and supported by the London Embassy.

Parry’s next project is something entirely different, but don’t think he is finished with either Elchin or Azerbaijan. Here is the man in his own words. On the play: “this was the play I had always envisaged. An exploration of political paranoia and sexual frustration: a spiritual dystopia”.

And on the playwright: “...I find Elchin a remarkable, not to mention subversive, playwright. Therefore, if I get my way, I would like to stage all 100 of his plays.”

This young country is strategically important, being rich in natural resources, and also in culture. It can only be beneficial to the UK to develop strong cultural ties with it, and if it does, a hundred years from now our descendants might find the name Elchin Afandiyev in their school curricula alongside Dickens and Shakespeare. If they do, David Parry is the man they will have to thank.

[The above article was published originally August 7, 2013.]

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