International Shalikashvili Mime Fest in Tbilisi
27 May, 2016
International Shalikashvili Mime Fest in Tbilisi
Georgian State Pantomime Theatre named after its founder Amiran Shalikashvili, hosted International Shalikashvili Mime Fest 2016 in Tbilisi. Famous actors and theatres Makoto Inoue from Japan, Jozef Markocki from Poland, Azerbaijan (Pantomime Theater) and Ofer Blum from Israel paid a visit to Georgia to take part in the festival and present their distinguished performances both to Georgian and foreign audience. The festival took place from 20 to 24 June at Amiran Shalikashvili Pantomime Theatre and all the plays received wave
of the applauses from the spectators. The Georgian theatre of pantomime counts over 50 years of heritage and more than hundred of tours around the world under its belt. In 1961 the group of pantomime artists led by Amiran Shalikashvili was created in the Georgian State University of Theatre and Cinema and in 1965 – the Premiere of first play- “ So that’s that” took place. The theatre has been offering the lovers of mime various international classic as well as unique Georgian plays with national motives, such as “Pirosmani- the king”, “Krimanchuli” and “Host and guest”. Even after meeting with the founder of the theatre in person and attending the performances, famous French Pantomime artist Marcel Marceau was amazed by the Georgian troupe’s acting and gave the best estimation: “I’ve never seen such national, professionally perfect and talented crew. In spite of being so young the theatre already has its own style. I expect that this theatre will soon be among the leading pantomime theatres of Europe.” It is noteworthy, that even during the civil war in 1990s the theatre did not stop functioning even though it was located on the central street where the battle itself took place. At present the theatre is led by Amiran Shalikashvili’s son who is called after his father. Georgian Journal interviewed the present director of the theatre as well as asked the foreign actors to share their impressions concerning the festival and the Georgian mime theatre in general:
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“This festival was established last year symbolically on May 13, 2015 to mark the opening of the theatre in 1965 with its first performance. I think this year’s festival was also very interesting; we hosted outstanding mime actors from different countries such as Makoto Inoue from famous Kabuki theatre in Japan, Jozef Markocki who is great mime artist Tomashevsky’s student, Ofer Blum, one of the founding founders of World Mime Organization who gave a master class to Georgian actors and others as well. The performances received massive applause and appreciation. It should be mentioned, that last year we also became members of the organization and this year it was unanimously decided by 40 members of the alliance that the international center of the organization should be located in Georgia, since Georgia has the State Mime Theatre, the mime faculty at the state university and, most importantly, 50-year-old history. Also, I would like to say that there is a big demand from Europe to study acting and get degree at our state university, since we are one of the few countries around the world who has faculty of mime. The international center of mime in Georgia is actively functioning; we have already organized many events and master classes for persons with disabilities and prisoners as well as various events for charitable purposes. Currently the theatre is undergoing entire rebranding and we are trying to give it a new breath and offer our spectators more interesting events and shows. I think our theatre has a big potential and bright future. Yet, the issue with the building of the theatre still remains a big problem for us. The building was illegally sold under the previous government’s rule and now we are in the state of finding a way out form this difficult situation. At present our aim is to find a new building and we hope that our theatre will find a better place with proper conditions”, - Said director of the theatre Amiran Shalikashvili in the interview with Georgian Journal.

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Celebrated Japanese actor Makoto Inoue also shared his impressions and even told us few words in Georgian that really deserves appreciation.

“First of all I want to say that I love this festival and this theater. It is my second time both in Georgia and in this festival as well. So when Amiran invited me to take part for the second time I really could not resist. Georgian people are so kind; I have already made many friends. Every time I perform in here, I get such a good feedback, Georgian audience is perfect and the staff is so kind. I should come back again here. As for my career, it all started from street dances, then I started to learn dramatic acting and mime at private school. Once I watched Marcel Marceau’s acting in Japan and I was so touched by his performance that I finally decided to dedicate whole my life to pantomime. I would like to say few words about Georgian mime as well; Georgian way of acting is very traditional and distinguished. When I first saw it last year I was so impressed, I understood that mime is here, this is my impression. I enjoyed my visit to Georgia and I want to say thank you to everyone once again”, - Remarked Makoto Inoue.
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“Pantomime is a universal language of all people and cultures. It is a pure way of passing an idea without any writing or talking. I was honored to be invited by Shalikashvili State Pantomime theatre as world mime organization vice president. The theater has done a lot for mime and for its promotion and our organization was shocked to hear about the state selling the building and taking away the title of national pantomime theater. Giving a master class to this group was hard as they are all true masters all ready. I could see the sadness in their eyes. In modern fast days it’s hard to find a country which has so much tradition like Georgia”, - Noted another honored guest and one of the founders of World Mime Organization in the interview with Georgian Journal.

Shalikashvili Pantomime Theatre's performance at Rustaveli Avenue marking the 25th anniversary of Georgia's Independence

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