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Internationally Acclaimed One-Man Theatre Act Came to Tbilisi

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, September 22
Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre continues to entertain spectators with original performances from world famous theatres groups. Vaso Abashidze's Music and Drama State Theatre hosted Theatre Ad Infinitum with its reinvented timeless Greek myth Odyssey. The story of one man’s epic quest to reunite with his family and seek his bloody revenge ignited the imagination and awoke the senses of the Tbilisi audience on September 19.

The multi-award-winning international ensemble based in London enchanted the Georgian public with a one-actor performance. By sharing a passion for innovative and international theatre-making through improvisation and universal body language, George Mann retold Homer’s Odyssey with boundless gestures.

The main challenge for the UK theatre group is to produce an experience that takes place between actors and spectators. George Mann, a lone actor imitating the various characters of the story via passionate, highly physical and poignant storytelling brought this breathtaking adventure to life. The physical discipline which Mann and Nir Paldi, the play director, have brought together allowed the two friends to tell Odyssey in a new way.

“It’s really hard to stage a monodrama that would be interesting for the audience for the whole length and actually this is why we chose Odyssey. It was a challenge for us to focus on a very big group and find an interesting way to tell a million different stories with one person,” Nir Paldi told The Messenger. “We wanted that not just English people but everyone could understand the gestures in the physical body and communicate across the world. It took long rehearsals and every time I learn something new and try to reduce the mistakes,” added the actor.

Odyssey premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009 and was an official Fringe Sell-Out Show receiving critical acclaim and going on to win The Stage Best Solo Performer Award. Returning to Edinburgh in summer 2010 due to popular demand, Odyssey was met with critical acclaim once more and shortlisted for a Total Theatre Award for Innovation 2010. Drawing on the differences in culture, nationality and language Ad Infinitum produces a unique and engaging form of theatre exemplified by their commitment to the audience.

Inspiration and transportation of the audience is the first priority of the theatre group. The sell-out international tour of Odyssey successfully kept on going in Tbilisi. Representatives of Georgian cultural circles: directors, actors and artists couldn’t hide their inspiration from the play. They unanimously acknowledged the skills and techniques of Mann, and praised his limitless talents.

The British Council which is the UK’s leading international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities has been cooperating with Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre since 2009. “We are participating at Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre since its foundation and we’re really happy to be the part of the festival because this is a great chance for us to bring the modern and innovative UK theatre to Georgia,” Zaza Purtseladze the Director of the British Council Georgia told The Messenger.