Highlights of My Return
a) The Market at Orbeliani Street
|April 9 Park|
But I have discovered, gentle readers, that nearly anything in the world (LL bean shorts! Nike trainers! Garlic and onion on braided ropes! Obscure vegetables!) can be found cheaply and relatively easily at one of the stalls between April 9 Park and the large Populi! Ditto cheap food, flowers, cobblers, key-copiers, and more! (Except for framers, whom I consult frequently to house my ever-growing set of antique prints torn from old-book pages. They live on the steps of the Academy of Sciences.)
I *love* doing errands in Tbilisi! Where else could getting simple things done make me feel so clever and accomplished? What do you mean every Georgian woman manages to buy spinach and get her prints framed and trainers bought cheaply? I feel special!
b) My new favorite restaurant
The Chaikhana has been closed for the past three days, which is worrying; much in Tbilisi seems to be subject to Sudden Closure Syndrome. However, while little will ever replace the Chaikhana in my affections, I have discovered my New Favorite Novelizing Haunt. This being Sheriklebi, located on the right side of the Academy of Sciences, a bizarre vintage-film-meets-19th-century-meets-Pirosmani (really! I think each section of the restaurant is meant to represent a different century) Georgian restaurant with an owner who, upon discovering I spoke Italian, rushed into my arms and kissed me firmly and joyfully on the forehead. There is also an adorable puppy who lives outside. Lunch was 15 lari for lobio, mchadi, pkhali, and bottled water.
c) Theatre in Tbilisi is Amazing
At the moment I'm disappointing myself by failing to leave my wonderful, toasty flat for a production of Jean Anouilh's Antigone, at the Marjanishvili Threatre (I directed it in high school, which gives me a shot at understanding it in Georgian!). It's one of my favorite plays, but I am alas recovering from post-Couchsurf-hosting-exhaustion-syndrome, and need a day to stretch out in my flat and reclaim ownership of my study!
This is all the more of a failure, however, because the last play I saw at the Marjanishvili - a wonderful Belle Epoque theatre on the Other Side of the River (ie, Too Far Away) was one of the best pieces of theatre I've seen...ever! This is a new adaptation of Bocaccio's Decameron, told in a mixture of commedia dell'arte and intense, visual-metaphor-laden physical theatre, which was gorgeous in exactly my preferred style (over the top, Grand Guignol, velvet-curtain-and-hooked-nose-mask, people throwing roses on the stage at the curtain call, theatre). I understood the vast majority of the plot(s), despite having no Georgian whatsoever! But amorous men and virtuous women are telegraphed the same the world 'round.
(Incidentally, I also went with my New Friend N., a writer and translator (and future co-Oxford student!), whom I met through this very blog! So write me a comment if you're reading this and in Tbilisi - I can drag you to bizarre interpretive theatre too!)
I do want to make it to Antigone (playing in repertory) at some point, as well as Robert Sturua's Twelfth Night at the Rustaveli Theatre, which is on tomorrow, as well as My Hamlet, La Ronde, and Private Lives.
I have an unexpected weekend in Tbilisi, due in large part to the windstorm overtaking Borjomi (I was meant to go horseback-riding! Alas!) What on earth should I do with my Sunday, other than a trip to Sioni Church for a proper Orthodox service. (a mixture of finals-revision and another tiptoeing step towards proper conversion...)