Friday, March 23, 2007

CO-Gas Alarm!

Don't know how we got around this in today's performance of 'The Misfortune of Darispan' in the Rustaveli Theatre. 'CO-Gas-Alarm' maybe needs to be explained to those whose parents did not leave a car with the engine running in an underground car park whilst going shopping ... then again....

Tonight's offering was a Georgian comedy, about an impoverished nobleman with 4 daughters who is having trouble marrying them off, finally finds a guy who two of the four daughters fancy (not convinced that all four daughters were on the stage), but I am not sure if he actually married one - come to think of it, maybe he did not....Seems to be a well-known story, though I am not sure what these pictures are doing on the Georgian Parliament website - they are not from our production, anyway. Should also mention that the production was in Georgian (of course), no translation and hence I guessed or was told by my friend who had joined me.

As we now know, the Rustaveli Theatre turns everything into a farce, and often very successfully. Straight comedies, however, do not seem to work well - this is the second time I felt that the acting was well over the top; seriously into slapstick country, hamming it up, with lots of silly voices and silly walks, almost not a straight step was taken! Then again, would I have noticed linguistic subtleties? Some of the (sparse Friday night) audience loved it and were giggling all the way through. Zaza Papuashvili (Hamlet, Vladimir from 'En attendant Godot' and Malvolio) was a total 'Del Boy' in his role as Darispan, all pretence and 'fur coat and nae knickers' - all that was missing was the three wheeler car. But he did one better - his Renault with which he drove off the stage with squealing tyres had a wheel at each corner. And plenty of exhaust fumes, too - the Georgian audience has to be tough!

The music, of course, was essential, some waltzes, some Bach, a wee bit of Kancheli and some other bits and pieces which I am beginning to know well from other plays. Not sure that it was that appreciated - the applause was a bit thin....I wish, though, that the Sturua productions came to a clean end - they are a bit like a Beethoven symphony - you think they have ended, and then you get some more - in music they call that a cadence event, I believe, or 'making a meal of it'. And the applause, when it is sparse, does not need to be milked quite as much - there seemed to be an element of politeness in the audience when the actors just did not leave the stage.