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Revisiting Tbilisi, Georgia 2006 / 2016

October 16, 2016

In 2006, Lilia! was performed at GIFT – Georgian International Festival of Arts in Tbilisi. That story was never told until now that we’re returning to perform Felicitas.

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“If one tried to describe Georgia using one single word, the right word would definitely be ‘hospitality’… Wherever we had been in Russia, in Moscow, in the Ukraine, in Stalingrad, the magical name of Georgia came up constantly. People who had never been there and who possibly could never go there, spoke of Georgia with a kind of longing and a great admiration. They spoke of the Georgians as supermen, as great drinkers, great dancers, great musicians, great workers and lovers. And they spoke of the country in the Caucasus and around the Black Sea as a kind of second heaven. Indeed, we began to believe that most Russians hope that if they live very good and virtuous lives, they will go not to heaven, but to Georgia, when they die….It is a magical place, Georgia, and it becomes dream-like the moment you have left it.” . – John Steinbeck, 1947

It was the khachapuri that inspired me. In 2014, we were performing Felicitas at the Players Theatre in Greenwich Village when Steve discovered Old Tbilisi Garden around the corner on Bleecker Street. Knowing I’d been to Tbilisi, he suggested we eat there. It quickly became our post theatre hangout. When the show closed, we went back whenever we were in the neighborhood. Then, we made special trips and brought all of our out-of-town guests there. The New York Times soon reviewed it and declared: “If there is one Georgian dish that could bring Manhattan to its knees, it is adjaruli khachapuri...” Steve’s favorite!

One day, as we boxed our khachapuri remains to savor for the next day, it occurred to me: “Why don’t we return to Tbilisi to perform Felicitas at the GIFT Festival?” I’d done Lilia! there in 2006. Steve would be able to experience magnificent Georgian food first hand. I wrote to Keti Dolidze, the festival director and the rest is history.

We leave this week for a performance of Felicitas on October 25.

I’d always intended to write about that 2006 Georgian trip. Today, I went back and reread emails I’d sent from Georgia. I will share them in segments to follow.

One Comment leave one →
  1. lrjrmay@gmail.com permalink
    October 17, 2016 3:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing these with us. That are fascinating. 😘

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