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Bugadze's The President Has Come To See You at the Royal Court Theatre

By Messenger staff
Thursday, June 13
Lasha Bugadze’s new play, The President Has Come To See You, which was staged by the new Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, Vicky Featherstone, premiered at the six week Open Court Festival (10 June – 20 July) in the theatre on June 11. The British premier of this Georgian play will run until June 16.

Bugadze created his play with the help of the British Council's New Writing Development Project and the Royal Court Theatre in London.

The President Has Come To See You was developed at the 2011 Royal Court International Residency and was first given a public reading at the theatre in March 2013, as part of the Royal Court’s season of New Plays from Georgia and Ukraine.

He was the only Georgian playwright whose play was given a public reading as part of the project. Bugadze's The President Has Come To See You (translated by Donald Rayfield) was the first ever public reading of a contemporary Georgian play at the Royal Court Theatre and in the UK.

It is an absurd comedy about cowardice and power. The plot goes something like this:

Georgia is at war. Again! And the President can’t cope. So he abandons his post and flees into the city to hide in the homes of his unsuspecting civilians.

The play is presented as part of the International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation Project, with the additional support of the British Council.

The Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection sent the Deputy Minister for Culture, Manana Berikashvili and Georgia’s acting Ambassador to Great Britain and Ireland, Tamar Kapanadze to attend the play, together with representatives from the British Council and the British Theatre.

The British Council arts programme in Georgia is focused on four arts sectors: new drama, film, music and the visual arts. By working with the best of Britain's creative and talented artists and agencies across different art forms, the Georgian arts sector is able to bring the best of contemporary UK arts to Georgia , which includes films, plays, exhibitions, discussions, educational events and collaboration projects.

Founded in 1956, the Royal Court Theatre staged John Osborne’s play ‘Look Back in Anger’ during its first season which transformed British theatre and produced a whole new generation of playwrights between the 1960's to 1980's, who became known as the ‘angry young men’.

During the mid-1990's, the Royal Court encouraged the development of ‘new writing’. Mark Ravenhill, Sarah Kane, Martin McDonagh made their first appearance on the Royal Court Theatre's stage, and their work heavily influenced contemporary European theatre.

Initially founded as a repertory theatre to specialise in both contemporary and classic drama, the Royal Court Theatre has been focusing mainly on working with innovative and emerging writers for the last 10 years. During its regular season, the theatre features 10–15 premiers of newly developed works.

Over the last 20 years, the theatre has been facilitating international work at a grass roots level, developing exchanges between writers, actors and directors in the UK and overseas.