Scenic Interpretation of Prose Work On the example of Temur Chkheidze’s Performance “Duel”

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Sofia Nadibaidze


Both the performance “Duel” and the story realistically are represented consecutive development and transformation of characters’ natures. Even though the characters live in the same time and space, they have different ideologies and even diverse moral and ethical values. Stage director Temur Chkheidze demonstrates in the performance “Duel” some human, super-epochal, specific problems not within time-space and the relations. Accordingly, he provides us with artistically and creatively comprehended versions of certain events as a provoker of humanization processes.

The tragedy of existence, human comprehensive intension, melancholy, and ephemera of psychological balance and relation, not exactly action as an outward factor of narration, but of internal dynamism, accentuation of spiritual movement, transfer of detail and nuance within creative vision is singlehandedly reflected with the stage director. The story that did not make and even today does not make indifferent its reader is also agitating its spectator even at the time of its performance to the stage. The principal purpose is not lost in staging. The mood and philosophy of the story are even maintained in the theatrical performance. This performance staged by Temur Chkheidze once more demonstrated to our diversity, ambivalence, and dramatism of the human inner world that the initial authentic, archetypic struggle and intolerance of human individual problems lead mankind even to tragic, dehumanized, and sometimes even delirious ideas.

At the very beginning of the performance, the stage director informed spectators about the character Laevski. He represented Laevsk as a nervous romanticist, who migrated to the province of the Russian empire, the province of Black Sea beach for finding ideals. In the very first event, the stage director showed us the dialogue speech of characters naturalistically represented by the writer from the visual-verbal prism. Exactly from the beginning of the performance is already presented a scenic image of two different prototypes – a romanticist (Laevski) and a military doctor (Samoilenko) serving during tsarist Russia. The stage director’s attitude towards each character is found in the performance. As if there are deleted limits between the first-rate and episodic roles. Stage director Temur Chkheidze equally emphasizes each character, as the development of a plot with the unity of characters and ensemble is important for him. The performance of actors and actresses surpasses the visual image of performance as the stage director pays significant importance to the actor’s mastery. Temur Chkheidze in detail studies the function of characters and represents psychological and literary analysis on the stage. Laevski’s transformation into an honest citizen and culminating transformation takes place on the previous night of the duel. This time he grants his dreams liberty. He candidly wishes to return home alive. When the seconds appeal Laevski and Fon Coren for reconciliation, Laevski even expresses his desire for conciliation, though Fon Coren replies negatively. If not for the appearance of the deacon in such a tragic condition, the bullet aimed by Fon Coren would cause a fatal result. The deacon’s personality is interesting as both the performance and story represent the final word of the deacon – “neither visible nor heard”. These words are conclusive phrases of the play’s plot. To my mind, the deacon’s deed both in the story and at the same time even in the performance the principal word as he saved the future of characters with two different ideologies. The deacon was the mediator between Fon Coren and Laevski. Thus I would like to state that the deacon’s words have a significant role in the creation offstage director and writer.

There is to be also noted stage designer of performance, who is adequately associated with the environment of the second half of the nineteenth century in the performance “Duel”. Similarly, the costumes also form a color set appropriate to the time. Musical determination of performances is also impressive changing epoch after epoch and independently narrates the story. It is to be noted that before launching work on staging the prose, Temur Chkheidze searches for effective dialogues in literary texts. The culturological value of performance was revealed by maintaining and more evidently providing ideal, psychological, or aesthetic accents selected upon the theatrical performance of literary texts both with verbal and conceptual potentials applied so skillfully by the stage director. So, itself authenticity of the text, its conceptual and psychological status, and position is a determinative factors for the stage director to work on the text that further provides the precondition of exact apprehension of time and space (chronotype) both for the author (like the original) and theatrical performance and creative and collective process of occupation with the actors/actresses participating in the performance. The author (Tamaz Goderdzishvili) of the theatrical performance of 125 paged story “Duel” minimized the story to 42 paged play. Despite of decrease in text, the theatrical performance maintained the thematic axis of the story – the plot. The story “Duel” is divided into 21 chapters and the play is composed of total 15 episodes. In some places, we find the shift in the episodes’ sequence. For example, the fifth chapter of the story is the third episode of the play. Also, in the eighteenth chapter of the story provided by the author the description of the deacon, is deleted in the play, though the author of the theatrical performance managed and merged the performance of the deacon in the performance of the duel. On the one hand in the urban (based on their interior, non- renovated walls) and on the other hand in the chamber space, the performance staged by stage director Temur Chkheidze at Royal District Theatre made me associate the feeling of documentary film and at the same time the feeling of drama theater. While consideration of the performance I once more got assured about the actuality of social, political, and religious contexts of work carried out within this space as this space maintains that already existing urban and inviolable authentic environment that especially indicates these unplastered and ruined walls. It is not possible to state as to which system or aesthetics influenced the creation of the stage director as his stage manner is revealed even in Aristotle’s and not Aristotle’s expressive forms of theater. Thus, like the variety of his list of performances, also aesthetics of the stage director offers us a variety of choices of visual interpretation of the search process. Though the principal point of art maintained by Chkheidze everywhere and always covers the presentation of such characters on the stage that personification is based on in-depth knowledge and study of human psychology.

Stage Interpretation, Royal District Theater, Psychological Theater, Temur Chkheidze
Published: Mar 6, 2023

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Theatre Studies