The Georgian International Festival of Art – Looking Back

The 18th Georgian International Festival of Art (GIFT) in honor of Mikheil Tumanishvili was closed with one of the most extravagant performances of ‘Carmen’ in modern interpretation by South African dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo. The closing ceremony was held on November 17 and, for your reading pleasure, Georgia Today has collected the best moments of the Festival.

During the Festival around ten theater productions were shown from around the world, some of which were based on original works, and some which were quite unique; invented and written by the directors. However, there is one thing that united all of them: modern interpretation and inclination to experiment.

Carmen is one of the most well-known characters in literature, the image somehow already formed for each person, but Dada Masilo decided to show the public a totally new Carmen, adding choreography items of African folk along with classical and modern dance.

“Carmen is a very free woman, and I made her incredibly attractive and sexy yet this image of her is acceptable to the public,” said Masilo. “I changed the ending as well. With her death would have died everything for which people loved her. So I left her alive, but I killed all her personality traits,” she said.

In the framework of GIFT it was the second modern dance theatre after Sasha Waltz’s ‘Travelogue 1- Twenty to Eight’, which, in contrast with Masilo, showed the modern life of modern people, but the storyline of these heroes intersected with ‘Carmen’ – it is all about love, potion and relationships.

Director Dmitry Krimov also showed his vision of modern life, of modern Russian life in his original play ‘Russian Blues. In Search of Mushrooms’ during the Festival. According to the director, searching for mushrooms is not just a campaign to find them, but something magic that unites Russian people. ‘Russian Blues’ is a theatrical metaphor – twelve completely different scenes from ordinary people’s lives, where mushrooms are a unifying symbol.

In addition, throughout the action of the play the audience uses earphones. “I found it interesting, for the viewer will see one thing and hear something completely different. The narrator in the earphones tells the story in his own way, focusing on the other elements, thus confusing the viewer,” explained Krimov.

It is worth noting that Dmitri Krymov displayed the world premiere of his performance in the framework of GIFT not for the first time. The Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia also became a loyal friend of the Festival, for the second year bringing its best performance: Eugene Onegin – one of the most significant works of Russian literature.

Eugene Onegin was one of the most anticipated performances at the GIFT festival and earned critical acclaim. In fact, each of the three days of the performance, the theatre boasted a full house and no standing room. This is thanks to the fact that Lithuanian director Rimas Tuminas did a nearly impossible thing- making Eugene Onegin, which is more intended for theatrical readings or opera, into a true theatrical, very moving and insightful play.

The Georgian International Festival of Art as a whole can claim to have been very filling, interesting and varied – in addition to theatrical performances, there were several exhibitions and festival talks. Nevertheless, the organizers promise even more theatrical ‘gifts’ for Georgian audiences next year.


Eka Karsaulidze

19 November 2015 22:17