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Rustaveli Theatre hosts second 24-hour theatrical experiment

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, March 30
In a 24-hour period, six writers, six directors and 24 actors staged six different 10-minute performances based on the American play, Twelve Angry Men.

On March 26 the event, carried out in partnership with the American Embassy, brought new faces to the stage of the Rustaveli Theatre, and encouraged new ideas in Georgian theatrical life.

Managing Director of the theatre, Zaal Chikobava, said the 24-hour festival is especially interesting as it is an absolutely spontaneous experiment.

At eight o’clock last Sunday, six playwrights received instructions from Yaroslava (Lola) Petrova, the Cultural Attache at the U.S. Embassy. “The point of the whole experiment was to see how creative people can get, especially under pressure, and I think these guys did a fantastic job,” Petrova told The Messenger.

“We didn’t want them to only reproduce the play. It’s also an art to take an unknown play and stage it but it’s a completely different thing when you ask them to take it to a completely different level. I hope that they would look at it as the beginning, as an inception of an idea, and then develop it and see how creative they can get with that,” she added.

Everything about the 24-hour festival was absolutely spontaneous. Neither playwrights nor directors were aware of what they would do within the deadline. Although directors were deprived of the right to cast actors themselves, they still managed to rise to the occasion and turn unknown scripts into short plays in only twelve hours.

After professional seminars and master classes from experienced playwright Lasha Bugadze and stage director Goga Tavadze, the young participants of the project created extraordinary pieces of art just in 24 hours.

Bugadze discussed American dramaturgy with script writers, while Tavadze led sessions at Rustaveli Theatre’s experimental stage, on which the young directors later debuted their plays for the festival.

Director Levan Khvichia first participated in the 24-hour festival last year. He said it was a risky challenge, so he accepted a second opportunity this year, and was rewarded with the best director prize.

Alexander Lortkipanidze was named best writer. They both received Kindle e-readers from the U.S. Embassy, while the best actor and actress received a free voucher to attend any play at Rustaveli Theater this year.

Calling the festival “an exam”, actress Tina Makharadze received praise from the jury for her performance. Despite her previous theatre and television experience, she prefers to avoid public events – but this time her spontaneous decision to take part brought her success.

Nino Maglakelidze, Director of the festival, emphasized the challenges participants faced. “It’s a very risky festival and I hope it will continue in future,” she said, happy to be running it for a second time. Welcoming the interest of young writers and directors in the festival, she emphasized the success of the previous “experiment”, which raised the self-confidence of the participants and has buoyed interest in another festival.