Fassbinder First Time on Georgian Stage
28 June, 2012
Fassbinder First Time on Georgian Stage

Georgia is considered to be an especially theatrical country. Tbilisi city and many other towns too, have interesting and experienced theatre troupes that have plenty of interesting performances and actors; and they have visited a number of major foreign countries. However, due to the language barrier, our reader should particularly take an interest in the plays of foreign authors that are more or less known to them. Quite surprisingly, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, one of the most distinguished representatives of the

New German Cinema, has been performing  for the first time in Georgia. The first night took place on June 22-24 at Royal District Theatre. Let’s celebrate this wonderful premiere together and wish it a success.    

 

The performance is directed on the basis of famous film “Katzelmacher” shot in 1969. The film centers on an aimless group of friends whose lives are shaken by the arrival of an immigrant Greek worker, Jorgos (which had been played by Fassbinder himself). This is one of the most imposing oeuvres of his early works. The play, written by the legendary German director himself, tells us a story of young people residing in a small provincial town, their monotonous life that is abruptly changed just when a Greek emigrant arrives to work there. All the problems of these youths is immediately embodied in this innocent man – they have created an enemy image – everything is attributed to this “insatiable Communist”. Therefore, he should be punished as their logic says that “a foreigner cannot possibly be a good man”. Fassbinder explains the xenophobic nature through allegedly ridiculous but somewhat severe text.  There are only some exceptions in this degraded society who still seek love and peace in humans. However, they are destined for emigration. Beautiful Maria falls for Jorgos who takes her to his homeland Greece. One of the fellows utters in despair that he does not even know they are drafting him to the military service; the main thing is to escape from this marsh.

Georgian director is Mikheil Charkviani, a senior student of Tbilisi State University of Theatre and Cinema. The author of the original music is Nika Pasuri, the painter is Levan Ochkhikidze. The actors are: Gaga Shishinashvili, Salome Maisashvili, Iako Chilaia, Ani Guliashvili, Magda Lebanidze, Ana Tsereteli, Giorgi Korghanashvili, Giorgi Sharvashidze, Shako Mirianashvili and Paata Inauri.

Georgian Journal had a chance to privately talk to the young director just before the premiere. “I began to direct plays in my early childhood in Kutaisi. Until now, I have produced plays at many stages. Two of my performances took part in the Festival Ardifest; this is the third festival at Royal District Theatre that I am participating. In Batumi I staged Rasmus Lindberg, also two plays at Theatre on Atoneli and one at Marjanishvili Theatre Garret. Now I am going to work in Batumi too.”

To the question why he chose Fassbinder, Charkviani answers: “It’s a pity that so far, such a great scriptwriter and director as Fassbinder has never been staged in Georgia. This play was written around 50 years ago; however, it is already considered as classic. I got this offer, while I was working on another play, but since the actors I needed for it, were occupied I had free time of one and a half month and a dramatist and translator Dato Gabunia suggested staging Katzelmacher. I read the play in English and later on, Dato translated it into Georgian. I accepted his proposal because it is very important when you deal with a dramatist who teaches you a lot, who offers you – a student – a number of challenges to overcome. Besides, the processes that were going on in Germany in those days, are very similar to ours, as it is the post-war period. Above all, it is about the problems of young people and I am a young man too and therefore, I cannot be fake”.

Misha Charkviani confesses that a life experience is equally important for a theatre director as his education and adds that he has the relevant expertise, as he knows such youngsters, idling all day long, who are potential criminals. The film itself begins with an epigraph:”It is better to commit new mistakes than repeat and repeat old ones over and over again until you faint.” This performance is about the early age mistakes, when people are not prepared to cope with life independently. Due to these similarities and the relevance of these problems that are present at any society, the director did not consider it necessary to modernize the play and left it as it was. “Fassbinder is a kind of a pretentious author; he demands to follow the text exactly. He is not Shakespeare who lets you do whatever you wish. However, because of this peculiarity, he has his own rhythm and atmosphere; the play has its own life. So, when there is no need, you have to preserve the epoque as it is presented in the original text,” Misha Charkviani expresses his professional views.

You will watch a genuinely philosophic plot, listen to wonderful original music that tastefully merges with the performance and see the stark scenery that most probably was chosen to underline the uninteresting life of the characters. However, acting is strong and worth seeing. “I had great time working with them. They are young actors who have recently graduated from Gizo Jhordania’s group. They were always ready. I can say that they constitute one of the most talented young troupes of Georgia, and very motivated too.”

You can see the performance starting from September.

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