Contemporary artists premiering postmodern theatre play at Tbilisi park

  • The contemporary staging is the first Georgian production of the play by Mark Ravenhill. Image via Theatre on Atoneli., 16 Jun 2021 - 18:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

A roster of four independent artists is teaming up with Theatre on Atoneli, a Tbilisi-based company, for an ongoing premiere bill of playwright Mark Ravenhill's Pool (No Water) at Mtatsminda Park in the capital.

The production marks the Georgian premiere of the play, and involves the group of freelancing creatives with no troupe affiliation along with critically acclaimed young stage professionals Davit Gabunia and Guram Matskhonashvili. The staging premiered last week, with the next show on the bill hosted on Thursday and Friday.

Involving actors Taki Mumladze, Sopo Zeragia, Giviko Baratashvili and Marika Khundadze, the production is performed in an empty water reservoir found in the park, located on hills overlooking Tbilisi.

A preview from the staging team said the work was an exploration of opportunities and aspirations of independent artists "in contemporary social and cultural context".

Ravenhill's 2006 work is a play about the fragility of friendship as well as outcomes of envy generated by success. Framed around jealousy for career achievements, it represents a look both at the relations and morality of using the lives of others for creating art.

The writing for the play has been praised for having "a hypnotic beauty" by The New York Times, with the review also singling out "tension between affection and antipathy among friends" as part of the playwright's piece. British Theatre Guide has noted Pool (No Water) for its "hypnotic fluidity".

While Tavadze and Matskhonashvili have contributed to the staging project through their work on translation of the play and design of the production respectively, the independent group involved in performing it worked without a director on staging the play.

Actors involved said the work on Pool (No Water) had been a "major case of leaving the comfort zone" for the team, noting the audience for the bill would also find themselves in a similar circumstance by having to follow the one-hour, 10-minute performance standing up.

A music performance is scheduled to follow the evening bills of the production, hosted in the park on June 17 and June 18. Tickets for the performances are accessible through platform.