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Telescope will receive its first performance in English in an immersive production, directed by Matthew Gould later this month.

Performed at Testbed1’s evocative performance space in Battersea, the former Victorian dairy will play host to this unique Azerbaijani play for a strictly limited run. Already performed in other languages around the world, this UK production will be lead by esteemed British actors Chris Simmons and Tanya Franks.

Chris Simmons, who played DC Mickey Webb in The Bill, has been cast in the role of ‘Man’. Chris, who is known for his lead roles in Casualty and Doctors, also played Mark Garland in EastEnders.

Playing opposite Chris in the role of ‘Woman’, Tanya Franks has held lead roles in Broadchurch, Pulling, The Bill and is known for her character, Rainie Cross, in EastEnders.

The full cast is Chris Simmons, Tanya Franks, Joe Eyre, Sergio Covino, Anna Darvas, Paul Brennan, Rachel Esposti, Amanda Reed, Elliott Bornemann, Felicity Jolly and Hannah Genesius.

Elchin’s bittersweet satire introduces us to a man hovering halfway to heaven after dying. He finds himself at a Way Station to Heaven, administered by angel bureaucrats and filled with other souls patiently awaiting their ultimate journey onwards. Guided through the system by the soul of an old flame, the man gets an unusual perspective of the family and friends he left behind on Earth, giving him a bird’s eye view of what they really think of him – and in the process he discovers more than a few truths about himself.

One of Azerbaijan’s best-known playwrights, Elchin writes fascinating multi-leveled observations on the paradoxical effects of modernity on us all. His familiar human characters encapsulate the spirit of contemporary Azerbaijan, often referencing the overlap with life in Soviet times and even more fantastical settings. Telescope reveals all the hallmarks of Elchin's accurate, yet gentle, satirical style.

The play is being staged as part of Buta’s varied schedule that is celebrating Azerbaijani arts and culture. The 2015 Buta Festival provides a window to the Azeri Arts in London, offering unique insights into a country that is arousing our curiosity.

For further information about the festival, visit www.butafestival.com. Updates about all things Buta can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – butafestival.
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