ATEC 11th International Forum: 'Brown Horse' Performed

On the evening of May 18, the guests from Mongolia National University of Arts and Culture presented a body-language-based play with national characteristics, Brown Horse, on the Proscenium Stage of the Theatre Centre of Central Academy of Drama Changping District, Beijing. This is a touching legend about a brown horse and a young man growing up together. The impressive Mongolian music complemented the expressive movements, making the amazing production a wonderful treat to the audience.

In the legend, a Mongolian woman gave birth to two lives, one human being and one brown horse. They two became friends like peas and carrots. Unfortunately, one day the horse was taken away from the boy, as if their mother’s death was not devastating enough. The horse then endured all evil deeds of human beings but overcame incredible hardships to finally be back with the boy.

The play was based on the novel Brown Horse by the Mongolian writer Lkhamsuren. The novel won the highest honor in the world of Mongolian literature in 1962. It demonstrates the life of Mongolians back in the 1920s, the invaluable bond between humans and horses, and humans’ reflections on their life and desire. The human characters in the play embodied greed, while the brown horse showcases loyalty, sincere love for hometown and generosity.

Doctor Delgerbuyan of Mongolian National University of Arts and Culture, also the director, highlighted the relationship between human beings and horses in the composition of the play. Instead of being bullied by the local tyrant like the boy and the mother, the brown horse serves as a symbol of unrestrained power in the search of life that will never surrender to any threats or obstacles. The horse, as the director suggested, can also be seen as an ideal human being, compared with the boy, a truly human. They share the same mother yet have disparate personalities. The horse’s getting back to the boy in the end can be interpreted as a process of replace the boy’s cowardice with the purity of the horse.

The stage design was fairly simple, with only a large piece of transparent plastic sheet to symbolize mountains, rivers, thunder, and so on. Besides, distinct cultural factors were added to the play and the audience could have a bite of the Mongolian arts. Apart from national dance, Mongolian music was also presented, such as Khoomei, Long Tune, Morin Khuur, Mongolian drum, etc. Comprised of different cultural backgrounds, the audience did not encounter cultural clash but instead immersed themselves in the distinctive drama and the vitality of the brown horse.