Tbilisi Movement Theatre: Moving shows, moving experiments, moving improvisation
18 January, 2017
“The true theater, because it moves and makes use of living instruments, continues to stir up shadows where life has never ceased to grope its way,” French dramatist, actor, and theatre director, one of most prominent figures of twentieth-century theatre Antonin Artaud has said.

Tbilisi’s Movement Theatre is becoming one of the main attractions in the city not only for the locals, but for the foreigners as well. Georgian Journal sat down with one of the founders of the theater, musician
Sandro Nikoladze to talk about what it is like to live the life of movement in the theatre.
Sandro Nikoladze

The Movement Theater was founded in 2001 and it was initially formed as a street theater, because they did not have their own space back then. They met Sandro Nikoladze in Georgia’s sea resort Kvariati, during Ponto festival.

“It is an interesting story: they were robbed and all their CDs, with all the music they were going to perform on, were stolen. Kakha Bakuradze, the founder of the theater, asked other participants of the festival if anyone could help them and play something during their performances. I came up saying that I could play flute. We had no time for rehearsals, so everything was improvised and everybody was happy with the result. That is how I joined them”.

The theater, with current line-up, has come a long way. They had many performances in the streets. Then they formed a band and accepted more people. “However, our only source of income was Street Carnivals, which were very popular in Tbilisi several years ago,” Sandro tells us.

A lot of foreign people are interested in the performances of Movement Theatre and that is why they try to make them equally interesting for many different people. “We have air shows, fire shows, carnivals, as well as jazz evenings in different locations. We try to play in as many places as possible and be our own advertisement.”

It should be noted that famous international travel website Tripadvisor was the initiator to contact them.

“They told us we were in the top position among all the attractions in Tbilisi. It looks like many reviews were written about us. So, Tripadvisro offered us to be part of their tours and included us in their list of destinations in the city,” Sandro said adding: “Different shows have different audience and that is exactly why we try to be as diverse as possible. The foreigners often come here because somebody else told them about us and many of them return, when they come back to Tbilisi.”

As for the diversity of the performances, Sandro says that they call it a “miniature dramatic circus”, which involves the pantomime as well as acrobatics, extreme, dances, live music.
Movement Theatre performance

“Our performances often have no significant content and are only meant to be spectacular. Although we have other dramatic shows as well, in general we try not to concentrate on the texts and emphasize movement language more, which is an international language. In order for the performances to be perfect, the artists need to work hard and be in a good physical shape. That’s why, preparing for each and every show takes a lot of energy.”

The main principle of their working is to be close with their audience. That is why they follow the path of improvisation and experiments. All this is very helpful in knowing what is better for the company, they say.

Apart from the aforementioned shows, there is a lot more to see at Tbilisi Movement Theatre.

“One of the projects is Recitative in the City. Every Friday, at 21:00, accompanied with live music, we speak up about social problems. This event is interactive and the audience has a possibility to join in. We also invite guests: musicians, writers, dancers, who tell their stories accompanied by live music.”
Recitative in the City. Guest: Famous Georgian actor Zurab Kipshidze

Besides, it has been half a year since they began their famous jazz evenings.

“The Principal of the State Conservatory helped us a lot. Rezo Kiknadze is a wonderful musician himself and his students are very talented, eager to please the audience and enjoy themselves with the beautiful, sometimes improvised melodies.”

Watch: Jazz revival in Tbilisi - Young Georgian jazzmen bring great tunes to the city

Every Thursday, at 21:00, they play for jazz lovers and on Tuesdays there are jam sessions and the event is open for anyone who wishes to join.

There is one more activity which makes the place even more attractive and this is tango evenings.
Tango night at Tbilisi Movement Theatre

“On Wednesdays, at 21:00, our Argentinean friend Mariana is leading tango master class. By the way, her husband’s name is David and he is Georgian. Very interesting couples gather here and one of them is a 65-year-old woman with her 14-year-old grandson. It is a very interesting show and the foreign tourists are interested as well. For them it is the way of exchanging information, relax and have fun. One lesson costs 5 GEL,” Sandro informs.

As for the main performances of the theatre, they take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and begin at 20:00. After the performances are finished they set up various kinds of events, jam sessions, etc. Everything based on live music, improvisation and live shows.

As a matter of fact, several times a month the theatre invites small theaters and companies, to help them develop and become more popular.

Thus, Tbilisi Movement Theatre adding positive movement to the city is yet another must-visit place for you.

In the video above you can watch a piece from "Recitative in the City" show, performed by the Director of the theater Kakha Bakuradze, accompanied by Sandro Nikoladze and other musicians of the company.

Related Story:

Jazz revival in Tbilisi - Young Georgian jazzmen bring great tunes to the city

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