International Carmen from Georgia Visits India
Author: Maka Lomadze
07 February, 2013
Recently, a troupe of Georgian Theatre of Music and Drama returned from India with success. They had presented famous drama “Carmen” for which they were awarded honorary prizes.
The production is a choreographic drama – a new phenomenon for Georgia. All actors are young and are endowed with surprising flexibility for actors. Ana Alexishvili is brilliant in Carmen’s part. The director is Kote Purtseladze, choreographer, who is brave enough to try his talant as a director too. For him, this is the second production after “Salomea” based on Oscar Wilde’s work.
“The troupe is of a mixed cast. I have chosen these young people from different theatres. What they have in common, is that they all were my students and I know them since their childhood. I think, they are all cool guys,” Kote Purtseladze told Georgian Journal.
Bacho Chachibaia, the actor who plays the part of Don Jose, is from Rustaveli Theatre. To the question, what made him to take this courageous step, Kote Purtseladze says: “I have always wanted to stage Carmen and I have always wanted to accompany it with Bizet –Schedrin’s music. Schedrin was the composer who was the first to re-make this opera for ballet; namely, for Maia Plisetskaia.”
Carmen is based on the novella by Prosper Merimee. According to a letter, which Merime wrote to the Countess of Montijo, Carmen was inspired by a story she told him on his visit to Spain in 1830. He wrote, “It was about that ruffian from Malaga who had killed his mistress, who consecrated herself exclusively to the public. As I have been studying the Gypsies for some time, I have made my heroine a Gypsy.”
An important source for the material on the Romani people (Gypsies) was George Borrow’s book The Zincali. Another source may have been the poem The Gypsies (1824) by Alexander Pushkin, which Merime would later render into a French prosaic piece.
“Moving Theatre came from Great Britain several years ago and offered me to choose a co-production. I said that I wanted to stage Carmen,” continues Kote Purtseladze. Then, a project in which four countries were involved, including Georgia, France, great Britain and Romania, was presented to the European Council and the latter financed it. Therefore, this is a joint production. “Each of us had to stage Carmen. However, one country made a drama out of it; another one was a radio performance, while ours was choreographic drama. “
There was a requirement for all the participant countries to present their performances in Canterbury, Kent University, Great Britain, and to hold a showcase and master-classes. “We had a success there. Our performance ended by detailed and sophisticated British discussions with students,“ the Georgian director and choreographer admits.
As for the definition, it was presented as a choreographic drama in Great Britain. “When such plays are staged, they are normally staged by the dance theatres where professional dancers are occupied. However, I chose to hire ordinary actors. We discussed it with the European Council and sponsors and decided to name it a choreographic drama, as it was not a ballet, an ordinary performance or a pantomime. They proposed to call it a choreographic drama. I think, it is the first time in Georgia. We tell a story and actors act with their dance - the main load is on dancing but their acting skill is also very important,” says Mr. Purtseladze, who is the director-choreographer of the production.
He thinks that it is more a psychological drama expressed by choreography than just a pantomime. Painter Anano Mosidze has designed daring costumes, which highlight the figures of actors. There is a minimum of stage decoration, which makes costumes even more vivid, and the acting of actors more distinct and perceivable. Their dancing and acting skills are outstanding. Nothing is disguised, which helps evaluate actors’ talents.
In India, 2000 people filled the hall and a lot more spectators were standing on their feet a week ago, where Georgian Music and Drama Theatre conducted a great successful tour. Soon, Georgian “Carmen” will participate in the Minsk International Theatre Festival; then in summer, it will tour Lithuania on the invitation of the Lithuanian President and later on - Great Britain again.