Theatre, run into by tank
The Shalva Dadiani Theater is turning 150 next year. However, with its building now virtually crumbling down, there’s a big chance it won’t live to see the anniversary.
Director Badri Tserediani told JAMnews its prospects have been less bleak recently, as Cartu Group had agreed to fund a large-scale overhaul of the building, putting to rest the troupe’s fears of closure and oblivion.
Meanwhile, the building remains to be a sorry sight, its roof leaking, plaster falling off the cracked walls, the wooden floors in actors’ makeup rooms caved in and rotting
The theatre’s central entrance has been closed for over a year due to collapse of the wooden flooring on the second floor of the building. Whereas a few months ago, the theatre administration decided to close the only available hall due to emergence of new cracks on the ceiling.
Despite that, the theatre has been operating throughout the year. The local actors have not cancelled their performances. Though a new season has not been opened this year for the sake of safety of the theater troupe and the audience, but Zugdidi theatre troupe still continues working. The rehearsals are held in a non-stop mode, in a more or less safe part of the building.
In a ramshackle building, the actors are rehearsing David Kldiashvili’s “The Victim. And they, themselves, slightly resemble Georgian classic author’s tragic-comical characters.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Zugdidi theater building was only once lightly repaired. Locals recall that the theater building was particularly damaged during the civil war in the early 1990s. It is said that military troops were stationed in the theatre building – they pulled out the wood parquet floor, burned chairs and other furniture. Once, even a tank ran into the theatre building and it still bears its trace.
Built in the 1930s of the last century, the building preserves many unique items – for example, special stage illumination equipment of Beria’s times, installed based on his resolution.
The ‘Snow Queen’ was staged at Zugdidi Drama Theatre last winter.
There are 41 employees, including 15 actors, in Zugdidi Drama Theatre.
For many years the theater staff has been waiting for a verdict – whether the theater will survive or not.
The theater staff is now looking forward to the expert review findings. Levan Samkharauli National Forensic Bureau experts, with the funding from the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, have already made expert assessment of the condition of the theater building. Experts’ conclusion will be made public in the near future.
Experts’ review must determine the works that need to be executed for reinforcement of the theatre building.
In parallel, the theater troupe is getting ready for Kldiashvili’ first night performance. On the theatre administration’s decision, the first night performance will be held in the area, that has not been utilized until now and that has been attached to the main building with a prospect to later arrange a small stage there. Though, the repair works have not been performed here yet.
‘We have little time left. The building is crumbling right before our eyes,’ – says Badri Tserediani, artistic director of the theatre. He calls on the Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia to duly react to the existing situation.