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Controversial new play staged at Music and Drama Theatre

Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, February 15
On February 9, the Vaso Abashidze Music and Drama Theatre premiered Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis – the final play from the English playwright, who committed suicide at the age of 28.

The play describes that time, recorded by its central character, as an instant of extreme clear-sightedness – “4.48, the happy hour when clarity visits". Yet it is also in these early morning hours when a large number of suicides take place.

Suffering from chronic insomnia and depression, Kane wrote the scenario of her death into the play, after a long attempt to "find herself”. Actresses Ruska Makashvili and Mari Kitia play the two sides of protagonist, presenting the confrontation created within one person when faced by such internal chaos. Makashvili and Kitia admitted that they found it difficult to play Kane’s character at first, but they eventually succeeded in demonstrating the internal tragedy of a person lost in their own emotions.

Georgian director Maka Natsvlishvili staged the English psychological drama with the full support of the Music and Drama Theatre. With her production, she is trying to illuminate how depression has become so common in the modern world.

Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, the influential British firm that represents artists' licensing rights, issued the performance license to the Music and Drama Theatre with the caveat that the play be staged as written, with even the most unprintable curses unchanged.

The Music and Drama Theatre has restored a tradition of discussing the plays they stage with notable theatre figures, before they premiere. Although the elder generation did not approve of the style and language of the play, Dodo Khurstilava said the performance perfectly demonstrated the universal theme of how a person who has failed to find meaning in life blames everyone but herself for her misery.

Seasoned theatre gurus advised Natsvlishvili on a more traditional staging, but younger theatre-goers welcomed the 25-year-old director’s creativity and praised her post-modern and experimental performance.