‘Uncle Vanya’ Triumphantly Closes Second Week of Arts Festiva
Uncle Vanya directed by Rimas Tuminas closed the first part of the Georgian International Festival of Art (GIFT). For two days, the troupe of The Vakhtangov Theater played a well-known, but very modern play by Anton Chekhov in the Griboedov Russian State Drama Theater in Tbilisi. There was not a spare seat in the auditorium and viewers enthusiastically appreciated the high quality of acting and directing skills on show.
Uncle Vanya was first staged in Moscow in the Vakhtangov Theater in 2009. Since then, the play has travelled to many countries and some festivals, winning several prizes, making it one of the theater’s most celebrated works. After a long journey, the Georgian audience finally had their chance to witness this beautiful work.
“It seems to me that, based on the history of your country, the themes of the man and his search, his losses, pain, faith and hope searching, are very close to your people,” said the play’s director Rimas Tuminas. “When we go to festivals, we always tried to pick up a repertoire based on the situation in the country. Now here is such a tendency, perhaps in a year or two our lives will change for the better, and we will be able to show you something less serious,” he added.
Classics are immortal and what the great writers wrote about remains popular not only now, but will be relevant at all times. This is the key to the success of Uncle Vanya by the Vakhtangov Theater, which is considered the best and most interesting interpretation of Chekhov’s play.
Sergei Makovetski, who plays uncle Vanya, admits that it is quite difficult to play the same play more than 170 times. “When you play the role for a long time, you are relaxed, think that everything is fine and familiar, but at the same time there are a lot of unknown things. Now rehearsals are not so important, the main thing is your mood. When you’ve played more than 100 performances, something new gives the play a kind of premiere feel,” said Makovetski.
All the characters in the play are funny, but no less tragic. “Often comedy is inseparable from the drama and the viewer does not even notice how their laugh is replaced by tears. We are pleased that we were able to bring contemporary thought in the framework of the classical academic theater. Today I felt gratitude from the viewers, their real emotions, strength, faith and thirst for the real theater. I am very happy and proud of myself and my team,” said Tuminas.
On October 30, after the first performance of Uncle Vanya, Keti Dolidze, the festival founder and Artistic Director of the Mikhail Tumanishvili Film Actors’ Theatre, awarded Rimas Tuminas and Sergei Makovetski with the Mikhail Tumanishvili Prize for Excellence in the Arts. Earlier at the festival, awards were given to SITI director Anne Bogart, actress Guranda Gabunia, Rustavi Ensemble founder Anzor Erkomaishvili, the Sukhishvili National Ballet, Greek director Michael Marmarinos, actor Zurab Kipshidze and film-maker Eldar Shengelaia.
The second week of the GIFT festival ended with a personal exhibition of Gia Japaridze, who also created the monument to Mikhail Tumanishvili in front of the theater. On November 9, after a week’s break, director Temur Chkheidze with his play The Gronholm Method will continue the festival. Audiences will also see performances from St. Petersburg’s theatres, Three sistersdirected by Andrei Konchalovsky and the premiere of his film Postman’s white night.
By Eka Karsaulidze
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