Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Marjanishvili Theatre

Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre is the second state theatre in Tbilisi, Georgia. Originally founded in Kutaisi in 1928 by Kote Marjanishvili, the theatre moved to Tbilisi in 1930 to Brothers Zubalashvili Public House, the building it occupies up to date.The roots of Georgian theatre date back to the middle of the second millennium BC. The cult of Dionysius spread widely in ancient Georgia. The proof remains in Vani, Sarkineti and Dzalisi where Dionysius Temples have been discovered, also in Uplistsikhe, the city in rock (3-2 cc. BC) where a theatre building is surrounded with its own stage, orchestra pit and the audience hall. It is clear that antique, theatrical and performing culture was very well known in ancient Georgia.Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre was established in Kutaisi in 1928 year and very soon it was titled The Second State Georgian Drama Theatre. It was founded by a great theatre director and reformer of the Georgian theatre by the name of Kote Marjanishvili. He was invited from Russia to implement theatrical reform in Georgia. Marjanishvili played a crucial role in the development of Georgian theatrical life, and is generally credited with navigating a path for modern Georgian theatre. Using established Georgian theatrical traditions, Marjanishvili created a modern theatre in which antique, classical and modern drama existed harmoniously .

In that period, Tbilisi’s intellectual life was centered on the theatre. Writers such as Shalva Dadiani, Polikarpe Kakabadze, Karlo Kaladze, Simon Chikovani and artists such as Petre Otskeli, Davit Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili, Elene Akhvlediani and composers such as Kote Megvinetukhutsesi, Andria Balanchivadze have all been drawn to the Marjanishvili.

From the very beginning, the Marjanishvili theatre company has been first rate. Veriko Anjaparidze, Ushangi Chkheidze, Tamar Chavchavadze, Shalva Gambashidze, Vaso Godziashvili, Sesilia Takaishvili, Sandro Zhorzholiani, Akaki Kvantaliani, Giorgi Shavgulidze -these are the names of the legendary actors who created an entire epoch of Georgian theatre.Ushangi Chkheidze, an actor of great innate expressiveness and tragic force, was the most gifted exponent of Kote Marjanishvili’s artistic credo. The fresh, inimitable, dazzling scenic images of Uriel Acosta, Kvarkvare Tutaberi, Cenci, Iago created by him are exemplary scenic images.

In the characters created by Veriko Anjaparidze, one can feel the breath of Georgian poetry and music.She is romantically-minded, emotionally elevated as well as full of ardour and scenic charm. These qualities are prominent in the roles of Judit, Desdemona, Medea, grandmother, Fru Alving, Fati Gurieli, Otaraant’s widow etc. but Judit was one of the best roles from her repertoire so as “Uriel Akosta” one of the best plays staged by Kote Marjanishvili in 1929.The art of staging plays has attained a high level of success in Georgia. The names of many well-known stage directors are tightly linked with the Marjanishvili Theatre: Vaso Kushitashvili, Archil Chkhartishvili, Vakhtang Tabliashvili, Dodo Aleksidze, Lili Ioseliani, Giga Lortkifanidze, Temur Chkheidze. They are all vivid individualities, whose performances were always characterized by expressive diversity and the high quality of the directing. They have staged plays that have won wide recognition.

Vaso Kushitashvili worked in France as a producer for 15 years, at the “Antoine” and “Odeon” theatres. He also founded the “Atelier” theatre. He worked for a time in the United States, in theatres in New York and New Orleans. As a man possessing a high professional culture, deep education and exquisite taste, he had a gift for establishing creative, contacts and work with actors. The following are some of his noteworthy productions at the Marjanishvili theatre:The performance of Euripides’ “Medea” produced by A. Chkhartishvili at the Marjanishvili theatre in 1962 was another brilliant page in the history of the Georgian theatre. Medea was impersonated by the well-known tragic actress Aspasia Papatanassiu. She said in an interview for the press “I can’t help expressing my delight. The performance was most interesting. It is pleasant to see the great popularity of Euripides in Georgia. I think this is not a matter of chance.”

Lili Ioseliani’s individuality as a director is fully evident in his manner of working with actors. He has a fine pedagogical flair and a salutary influence on those he is educating.

Giga Lortkipanidze’s style is that of a master of colorful theatrical performances imbued with a national spirit, which is manifested predominantly in Georgian plays. He keenly feels the style and the genre of a play. “Me, Grandmother, Iliko and Ilarion” ,“See the Sun” by Nodar Dumbadze and “Kakhaber’s Sword“ by Polikarpe Kakabadze, all produced by him at the Marjanishvili theatre, are especially significant.

Dodo Antadze was director of the Marjanishvili theatre from 1934-1938 after its founder’s death. He staged a number of noteworthy productions.

Temur Chkheidze examines his characters very thoroughly as well as looks into the deep conflict of the human being and into the psychology of each hero. This is why his productions always reaches the most valuable thing in theatre they are convincing! The visual side of the production always reflects the essence of the original play in the most interesting way. He has been an artistic director of Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre from 1981 until 1988. Since then has worked at this theatre as a producer. Working at this theatre, he has directed performances which always played a distinguished role for the Georgian theatre: “Haki Atsba” by Leo Kiacheli, “Othello” by William Shakespeare, “Jako’s Refugees” by Michail Javakhishvili, “Perfidy and Love” by Friedrich Schiller, “The Crucible”, by Arthur Miller.Otar Megvinetukhutsesi, the famous Georgian theatre and film actor, was the artistic director of the company for ten years (1996-2005). After founding the Rustavi State Drama Theatre in 1967, he returned to the Marjanishili Theatre in the mids 70s and began a new era for the company with productions such as Oedipus in Sophocle’s tragedy “Oedipus the King” directed by Giga Lortkipanidze and Tamaz Meskhi.

Artistic relationship between Otar Megvinetukhutsesi and Temur Chkheidze appeared very important for the Georgian culture. They first met at “Haki Atsba” by Leo Kiacheli, where Otar played the role of Ujush Emba. Then the legend continued with “Othello”. In 1984 the performance was invited to Vaimar, Germany at the Shakespeare International Conference held at the Shakespeare birthday celebration.

The 2006 autumn theatre season began with Georgia’s dramatic elite gathering in the oldest and most venerable venue in the country - Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre. This occasion was special for a number of reasons: it marked the unveiling of the newly renovated theatre building, and the birthday of the bright star of Otar Megvinetukhutsesi, along with the premiere of a Bertolt Brecht classic “The Three penny Opera” and the opening 76th theatrical season.

Even though the soviet system denied Georgian artists to represent their theatrical mastery abroad, Marjanishvili Theatre still managed to attend different art and theatre festivals, where critic and public alike have always been enchanted by Georgians passionate and innovate approach to the theatre and to the life.The theatre building was thoroughly renovated and reopened in 2006 with the premiere of Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera.

No comments:

Post a Comment