Tbilisi Marionette Theatre / Rezo Gabriadze, The Autumn of my Springtime

Review in Issue 16-2 | Summer 2004

This was the second show by the renowned Tbilisi Marionette Theatre (founded by Rezo Gabriadze in 1981) that BITE has hosted. The first – The Battle of Stalingrad – evoked the epic of the ‘Great Patriotic War’, contrasting the generals’ points of view with various animals caught up in the blizzard of History: a pair of starcrossed horses, an ant searching in the sands for her lost child. In this second show the animals are more fantastical and, as its title suggests, the evocation of the Soviet era is more paradoxical – wistful, or perhaps whimsical, even.

The recurring image of electricity pylons on Gabriadze’s stage recalls Lenin’s famous definition of a Communist twentieth century prevailing over the bourgeois nineteenth century – like the power of electricity over steam. And yet the puppets’ stories hark back nostalgically rather than triumphantly heralding the future. Gabriadze’s puppets and props often look as though made from the worn and weathered materials of the past – a desk from a flea market, lace cut from an heirloom.

Manipulated with an unplaceable placidity, the puppets give their gestures to stories told, and songs sung. on an accompanying recording of actors’ voices. The performance begins and ends with a death – but in between the imagination literally takes flight on the wings of our anarchic hero, a friend of everyone. While the detail of the puppets’ movement was equally expressive, the episodic structure of this show, however, seemed less affecting than the more richly layered Stalingrad.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-2
p. 26