Trans Eurasia travel

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Georgians also excel in theater, claiming more acting companies than any other country its size among the former Soviet republics. Tbilisi boasts an amazingly lively theatrical scene for a city of its size. Four directors have dominated Georgian theatre since the early 20th century: Kote Marjanishvili and Sandro Akhmeteli in the 1920s and ’30s, and Misha Tumanishvili and Robert Sturua since the 1970s. Marjanishvili and Akhmeteli were both denounced for ‘anti-Soviet activities,’ and while Marjanishvili died of natural causes in 1933, Akhmeteli was shot in 1937 by the Soviet regime. With these two men began Georgia’s love affair with Shakespeare, continued by Tumanishvili and Sturua. Sturua’s Richard III (1980) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1975) daringly burlesqued dictatorial regimes and won critical acclaim throughout the world, as did his 1986 London production of Hamlet starring Alan Rickman. He is still director of Tbilisi’s Rustaveli National Theatre, where he has staged 17 different Shakespeare plays.