Robert Sturua & Rustaveli Theater Mesmerize in Mexico
Robert Sturua is a name well-known in the world of theater. This living legend staged Shakespeare so well that even the Brits joked they should study the staging from his example.
On April 19, at a press conference held at the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection, another success of his and, consequently, of the Georgian cultural scene, was announced. This time the news that Robert Sturua’s masterpiece, first staged several years ago and titled ‘Maria Callas. Lesson,’ had conquered the Mexican stages.
The Shota Rustaveli State Drama Theater visited the South American country within the framework of the Festival del Centro Historico de la Ciudad de Mexico (the Spanish name that stands for: festival of the historical center of the City of Mexico). The tour lasted from March 29 to April 5. The performance ‘Maria Callas. Lesson’ was met with extremely positive appraisal. In the spotlight were: Lela Alibegashvili, the actress playing the role of Maria, Davit Darchia, Lela Akhalaia, Davit Uplisashvili, Keti Svanidze and tenor Archil Gogitidze. The performance of the theater from Georgia is said to have become the main event of the festival.
Sergio Vela, director of the Mexican festival, was particularly interested to let Robert Sturua and his cast participate in the occasion, and the Rustaveli Theater was the only Georgian theater to do so. The Minister of Culture of Mexico, diplomats from various countries, and representatives from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and other institutions of the cultural field, attended the performance. The international tour was supported by the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mikheil Giorgadze, Minister of Culture, opened the press-conference: “I’m glad the performance was so well received in Mexico, and seen by so many officials. I’m glad that our ministry supported this tour. This success, as well as the success of other Georgian theaters, is very important in terms of raising awareness about our country and popularizing and internationalizing its theatrical culture”.
“This was a successful tour for our theater,” said Gia Tevzadze, Director of Rustaveli Theater. “It was our third visit to Mexico. Our first tour was ‘Caucasus Chalk Circle’ and the second ‘Richard the Third’ and ‘Samanishvili’s Stepmother’. After 30 years, the Mexican spectators could not hide their surprise at how different this performance [‘Maria Callas. Lesson’] was from those they had seen before.”
Davit Uplisashvili is an actor who has witnessed all three successes of the theater in Mexico. “This third tour of ours was a huge success. The locals saw Sturua’s work from a different angle and expressed great admiration and gratitude to our [maestro]. I want to highlight Lela Alibegashvili’s brilliant acting. I want to thank all the actors who participated in the performance, for their dedication. I want to congratulate our theater and Mr. Robert Sturua on this success. As we walked through the crowded streets of Mexico, there were times when we were congratulated by strangers who had seen the show”.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to the Ministry of Culture,” said young actress Keti Svanidze. “I was honored to participate in this performance. It was a great joy to play alongside Lela Alibegashvili, such a high-class actress. We are very glad to have visited Mexico with such a great success. Even though there were subtitles, Mexicans were so deep into the performance that they didn’t even look at them, as if the Georgian language was intelligible”.
Purportedly, and surprisingly, even Robert Sturua noted that Mexican spectators were even more involved in the performance than Georgian ones had been.
2017 is an anniversary year, with Georgia and Mexico marking the 25th year since the establishment of diplomatic relations. The participation of Rustaveli Theater in such an important cultural event of the world will undoubtedly enhance the deepening and development of the diplomatic and cultural relations between the two countries.
By Maka Lomadze