Modern Romeo and Juliet by Michael Marmarinos
02 February, 2012
Modern Romeo and Juliet by Michael Marmarinos

Besides its being the old style New Year, January 14 is the Georgian Theatre Day. It also happens to be the founding day of Tumanishvili Theatre of Film Actors. This was the first night of R+J, (Romeo and Juliet,) subtitled ‘fate is lost’ staged by famous Greek director Michael Marmarinos for whom this is the third piece fulfilled on the Georgian stage.
Minimal decoration and maximal contemplation – this may be a very brief description of Michael Marmarinos’ way of

thinking. The classical piece by great William Shakespeare about indelible love story of two youths has been revived in completely new form, where the carnival is made into a podium, the stage is not enough for the scope of acting and therefore, half of the stalls is joint to it, thus spectators becoming the inseparable part of the whole performance. The audience is interactive and is involved in the show. Actors ask them questions like that: ‘Have you ever felt a love similar to Romeo and Juliet?’ or “which is more difficult – to find a job or a decent man?’ The audience turned out to be quite active considering the fact that such kind of interactive theatre is a kind of new fruit for us though there have been some attempts before too. It is worth noting that this is not a classical staging from the point of the content either. The play has been written specially and the book has also been published a week ago. It is habitual to Marmarinos to fit the performance to the country where he stages it.  Of course, he has not changed the dramaturgy, but the play visualizes some real stories from the Georgian real life. For instance, there is an interpretation of the real murder of 17-year-old boy that happened quite recently on Rustaveli Avenue and which was followed by the revenge of his father who killed his killer.
Michael Marmarinos is the head of the theatre Theseum Ensemble situated in Greece, Athens. First time he came to Georgia within the framework of the international theatre festival ‘Gift”.  The first performance that Marmarinos performed in Georgia was “Medea: Material”, that has been shown on the stages of Russia and Greece as well. The second performance of him at Tumanishvili Theatre saw the daylight in 2002-2003 and it was called “National Anthem”. Anthem has been staged in Greece, Germany, Italy and Korea and it always corresponds to its host country.  He did Romeo and Juliet in Athens too in 2004 – this was the Greek version.
Notably, the pre-Christmas and New Year period that is so wonderful for everybody was particularly busy for the troupe because of the planned premiere. Zurab Getsadze, Managing Director of Tumanishvili Theatre of Film Actors told Georgian Journal: ‘We have been attempting a lot to invite Michael to Georgia this time and at last we have been able to achieve this goal.’
Keti Dolidze, Georgian film and theatre director, commented: “I am happy that I have been introduced to Michael Marmarinos – and thus, I have had a chance to make my big contribution in bringing him to the Georgian stage in general and to Tumanishvili Theatre stage in particular. He is a unique director notwithstanding the fact that some may accept his art and some not. But I believe that his performances are really distinguished on the Georgian theatrical map. He is a man of modern and very exquisite way of thinking who estimates things differently – through discussions – rather than through illustrations.’      
One of the main interpretations of the new version is that there are 8 characters – starring Paata Inauri, Kato Kalatozishvili, Keta Shatirishvili, Giorgi Sharvashidze, Maia Gelovani, Eka Demetradze, Magda Lebanidze, Giorgi Nakashidze - and all of them are protagonists and heralds at the same time. The original music belongs to Dimitros Kamarotos, while all the rest of the team including actors is Georgian. The author of costumes – Ushangi Imerlishvili, painter-visage – Anuka Murvanidze, first assistant to the director – Data Tavadze, second assistant to the director -  Eka Demetradze. One of the main beliefs of Michael Marmarinos’ creative work is that there is no moment in every-day life that isn't theatre, once the right gaze is there.
The performance R+J was realized with the support of the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Tbilisi City Hall. For those who cannot understand Georgian, the original poetry is on the screen.
Tumanishvili Theatre is situated on 164, Aghmashenebeli Avenue. Tel: 2-34-28-99

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