Saturday, October 21, 2006

Singing and Dancing

Last night in the Marjanishvili Theatre for a performance of Brecht's 'Threepenny Opera'. A beautiful art deco building, it seems to have been renovated very recently. Like all Russian/Soviet era theatres it is easy to find your way around - the toilets and wardrobes are always in the basement. The theatre is quite small; it has about 300 seats in the stalls and maybe another 100 or 150 in the balcony.

Audience behaviour, at least in terms of arrival, seems different in Georgia compared to Armenia (based on the experience of one show). Whereas in Armenia 15 minutes after starting time people might begin to think of sitting down, in this theatre last night half the large doors into the auditorium were closed at 7 minutes before the show was due to start; two minutes later the main doors were closed, and people could only come in through the side doors... as they did, for some considerable period of time. The chatting, entering and leaving during the performance and the use of mobile phones, alas, are no different from Armenia.

So anyway; it was the play by Brecht, and while they did not use the music of Kurt Weill, they used the tunes happily and generously. It was a very zany production, much like a musical, and amongst other interesting artefacts included a camel that was lit up internally and whose eyes rolled in its head every time it was moved or touched. There was a great amount of singing and dancing throughout the show, and it was very funny. The costumes were great, too. (reading the summary just now on the net it is clear that indeed it is a very complicated piece of theatre, with many characters). Quite a few of the actors also played instruments quite well. The singing was a bit variable and I wondered if some of the actors used playback - the singing and the speaking voices did not always match. The performance lasted 3 hours and was definitely not boring, even though I had not a word of Georgian. At the end of the performance the two small children who had been noisy in the back stalls the whole evening were brought to the stage and joined their mother (a minor role) in the bows - this did rather detract the attention from the actors who had worked hard all evening; I wonder what they felt about this.

Spent some time yesterday looking for flats; saw quite a small one (strictly speaking, it has enough space) with a stunning view overlooking the fort and a large valley. It has interesting colouring, too - just feels a little cramped (though allegedly it has a larger square metrage than my smaller flat in Vilnius, which is quite adequate). Has gas, electric heating and a fireplace, so in some way or another one should be warm in winter, even if services are cut off. The other flat was larger, and will also be nice, but it has no view - though it is located more centrally. (I am told the first flat is in the French quarter, in old Tbilisi, and there are lots of cafes and things. Will explore later today, after I have looked at other flats....

The photo is of a street scene near my work in Vake, Tbilisi - a story of everyday working folk...