Kazakh leader is made hero of allegorical play

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BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN (AP) - On stage, the leader of the nation treks into a nighttime magical forest and begins talking to the trees, which turn into his opponents.

The premise of a new play about Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev may sound like biting political satire, but the intent is just the opposite.

“Deep Roots,” which is debuting Thursday in the capital Astana, is the latest mythologization of the man who has run the sprawling Central Asian country since its independence from the Soviet Union two decades ago.

Nazarbayev already has been heralded this year in a book of illustrated children’s fables and in a glowing movie depicting his early life in a shepherd’s family. In Almaty, a statue of Nazarbayev stands in a park named after him.

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