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Glimpse at a man behind the wall



" Their common sense of the inevitable end of the world—not of the planet but of the model of human relations—and of social order and upheaval, is poignantly current for us here and now. For us who live after the end of the world. Who live in the face of crimes and conflicts that daily flare in new places faster even than the ubiquitous media can keep up. These fires quickly grow boring and vanish from the press reports, never to return.
And we feel helpless, horrified and hemmed in. We are no longer able to build towers, and the walls we stubbornly construct do not protect us from anything—on the contrary, they themselves demand protection and care that consumes a great part of our life energy. We no longer have the strength to try and glimpse what lies beyond the gate, behind the wall. And that’s exactly why theater should exist and where it should seek its strength. To peek inside where looking is forbidden"...

This is an extract from the message of Krzysztof Warlikowski, a prominent modern Polish theatre director, sent to the world media on a World Theatre Day, on the 27th of March. Alike the great teachers - Peter Brook and Giorgio Strehler - he's searching out an ideal, yet elusive form of theatre, which has its source at the entrails of truth and which "ends in the inexplicable".

At one glance, Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre is a bit far from the message full of inner drama of Krzysztof Warlikowski. But it was born out of the search for "an elusive theatre" too and it's been eight years already since the festival keeps roaming in "the inexplicable". Annually the festival questions itself as well as its audience. It's trying to understand new diverse forms and genres which are vital to the modern theatre and it endeavours to disguise a bearable or an unbearable lightness of being according to the very genre - sometimes it's tragic, sometimes - comic.

But, what do those masks look like? And how should we reprieve from it all? How can we find the balance between the past burdened with theatrical myths and the modern audience wearied of too many problems. What do we have to do with the kind of taste that is agonising, wasted and threadbare? On what language should we communicate to the audience on the boards illuminated with footlights or in an off-track basement? In what way can we express the depth of feelings and the depth of reflection so that humour, self-irony and joy are maintained? How can we introduce the sins to them, yet not forgiven, as the base for a future "comedy of mistakes" ?

The walls of alienation, Warlikowski is writing about, are truly high and unscalable. Still, there are always the ones who, with their art and courage, pull down the walls and perceive "a small person" behind them, the one forgotten by God.

The example of this is a performance "Ordered Disorder" at Rustaveli Theatre, which is extremely current for us today, having a socio-political background. A great moderator who adjusts Brecht's "alienation effect" to the Georgian scene, Robert Sturua, in one of his last and one of his best productions displays both the physical and metaphysical aspects of power, devastating "the small person". The "Sorrow" revealed in an emotional and experimental performance staged by a young director Davit Khorbaladze is not that far from Brecht's "disorder" too. ( Independent project, "An open space for experimental art")

Elusive and  unrealizable dreams of "the small person", of a manservant Gonske, will be divulged to us by the director David Doiashvili in his production "Fool's Life" ( Based on the short stories by Akutagawa, at Vaso Abashidze Music & Drama State Theatre). It's notable that 23 years ago he staged "Fool's Life" at Tumanishvili Theatre. So, the theatregoers will have a chance to compare the performance with its earlier version.

The production "BEGALUT - IN EXILE"  staged by Levan Tsuladze treats the theme of persecution and oppression with poignantly ironic poetry. (Based on several fragments from Shalom Aleichem’s and Guram Batiashvili’s novels)

I recommend to the theatregoers not to miss the significant event of the last season - "King Lear", with Zurab Kipshidze's performing the protagonist (Directed by Zurab Getsadze, at Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre).
"The Visit of The Old Lady", where the protagonists are played by Keti Tskhakaia and Gia Roinishvili, is also noteworthy (Directed by Sandro Eloshvili, at Kote Marjanishvili State DramaTheatre, The Basement).

The director Irakli Gogia offers spectators an authentic and specific production of "Host and Guest" at Sandro Akhmeteli State Drama Theatre.
The last year's flooding of the13th of June is reflected in the production "13 of June". Staged with publicistic pathos and steeped in humanism by a director and author, Guram Matskhonashvili at Tbilisi State Puppet Theatre.
The production by Avtandil Varsimashvili "They Shoot Horses, Don’t They" tells a story about exhausted and hopeless people. (Independent version of the script of a famous film by Sydney Pollack, at Liberty Theatre).
"The story of the roebuck" is an attempt by the director Nika Sabashvili to revive the harmony lost between man and nature (Zugdidi Shalva Dadiani State Professional Dramatic Theatre)...

The way to a man isn't as long as it seems. What is principal is to pull down the walls built from alienation and fear...

David Bukhrikidze