No surprise that everything has changed in the internet era: human imagination and relationships, communication, our attitude to time as such, rapidity of business deals and financial transactions, sell-and-buy ways and means, our knowledge of the world and our thoughts of the future. One of the things that has remained stable, almost untouched, is theater, the collective form of live performance on a stage, with actors and actresses in front of real-time onlookers. Talented individuals continue depicting life in black-and-white, embodying their written piece on the stage, personifying the invented characters and attracting the interested audience to witness the recital of all that, exactly as it was done hundreds of years ago. This means that we have strongly maintained the old penchant for going to the theater to watch for several hours the product of human imagination, interpreted in the form of drama, with theaters worldwide packed as full as they have ever been before.
One of the best examples of Georgia’s drama life is a tiny theater located on the Atoneli Street of downtown Tbilisi, named ‘Theater-on-Atoneli’, founded by Georgian businessmen and theater lover Revaz Salukvadze, whose daughter Tinatin Salukvadze is now managing this small but quite famous theatrical pearl of Georgian culture. The miniatures the theater is producing are extremely popular, and their stage life is enviable to many bigger theaters of the country. One of the most lasting shows on the repertoire of the Atoneli Theater is ‘Good Morning, Hundred Dollars!’ The play was written about twenty years ago by the Georgian playwright Pyotr Khotyanovski and his late wife Inga Garuchava, the Russian-language Georgian poet. It was just the luck of the theater and its thespians that the well-known Georgian theatrical director and public figure Keti Dolidze noticed the story and realized it on the stage of the Theater-on-Atoneli. This happened 15 years ago, and since then, the play has never left the stage, having lingered on firmly and successfully to the delight of its happy spectators. Moreover, the play has conquered the stages of Paris, London and Edinburgh, and is now set to further delight Georgian immigrants in Madrid, Spain. The playbill proudly says that the Embassy of Georgia in the Kingdom of Spain and the Ministry of Culture of the country have organized the presentation of the mentioned play at the Spanish cultural Center Eduardo Úrculo in the city of Madrid, Thursday evening, October 26th, Director – Keti Dolidze, actors Nana Pachuashvili, Nineli Chankvetadze, Ramaz Ioseliani and Nugzar Ruhadze, art director Shota Glurjidze, and choreographer Mariam Aleksidze, all organized in Madrid by Zurab Mchedlishvili, Deputy Head of Mission of Georgia. Attendance is free.
As if the stars have lined up deliberately, the spectacle will take place exactly the day when this issue of Georgia Today is coming out. Rumor already has it that the entire Georgian diaspora in Madrid, and not only, is breathlessly awaiting the performance to make history, which, incidentally, boasts a story about the most commonplace model of life of our emigrants all over the world: a well-educated married young woman ventures to try herself as a nurse to an elderly American woman who is rich but very sick. On top of the caretaker, she hires a fiddler to entertain her, using her Stradivarius violin, and a physical consultant to gave her massages and help her stretch – four characters all in all, each playing their own part in her senile and infirm life. The happiest and the brightest part of the play is the finale, when the old American lady turns out to be a Georgian and out of the blue starts speaking her native tongue. In the end, they all display the sincere desire to go to Georgia together with the Georgian lady returning home, and even the fitness specialist learns the Georgian language and jumps on the bandwagon.
It is definitely the content of the play (set aside the perfect performance of the participants in the show) that has attracted those thousands of viewers throughout the show’s long years. Success is guaranteed in Madrid too, and in the rest of the world where part of this nation has found another home. Good luck to all of them, sitting in pits and stalls, and to those who act and live on the stage for those magical two hours!