A Mother and Daughter Face Off Over The Future in Dancing Crane Inc.’s presentation of the Georgian Drama SARKE

By Lia Bakhturidze Sirelson

Performed with an English Translation at the Midtown International Theatre Festival

A mother determined to provide for her child and a daughter who wants to follow her heart. This tale of generational differences and perceptions is brought powerfully to life in Lia Bakhturidze Sirelson’s family drama Sarke, performed with an English translation by Dancing Crane, Inc., New York City’s only Georgian performing arts company. Directed by Ramaz Zurabashvili, Sarke (The Mirror) will be presented on July 19th, 22nd and 24th at the MainStage Space at 312 West 36th Street as part of the 12th Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival.

Veriko, an elderly woman living in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital city, has fallen upon hard times and is determined her daughter Tako marry a Georgian immigrant Veriko believes to be rich, and who has just returned from America to seek a bride. But Tako loves another, and is so cowed by years of her mother’s steamroller-like domination she lacks the courage to say how she really feels. As mother and daughter prepare for a fateful dinner party, with guests including a gossipy neighbor, an unemployed alcoholic, a political activist and a poor relation from the country, secrets are revealed and words which cannot be taken back are heatedly exchanged. It falls to the most unlikely of wise men to truly put things into perspective.

Performed in Georgian with an English translation, Sarke will be presented at the MainStage Space at 312 West 36th Street, 4th Floor on Tuesday, July 19th at 6:30pm, Friday, July 22nd at 8pm and Sunday, July 24th at 2pm. Tickets are $18.00, $15.00 for students and seniors. Reservations: 866-811-4111 or www.midtownfestival.org. Members of the press are invited to all performances.

The cast of Sarke features Irma Gachechiladze, Natalia Goderdzishvili, Khatuna Ioseliani, Tsitsino Kapanadze, Irina Khutsurauli, Nika Muradeli, Giorgi Potskhveria, Irakli Shengelia, and Ramaz Zurabashvili. The show’s set and costume designer is Tamuna Lomsadze, the choreographer is Irakli Shengelia, music director is Davit Chkuaseli, technical operator: Levan Metreveli. The general and artistic director of Dancing Crane, Inc. is Victor Sirelson. Sarke marks the first time any play has been performed in a non-English language at the MITF.

Lia Bakhturidze Sirelson worked for 25 years in Georgian Theater in Tbilisi before coming to the United States in 1998. An actress, script writer, director and stage designer, she created the Georgian Theater of New York in 2008. She wrote and directed a number of dramas at the Theatre-Studio Modinakhe. She taught acting at the Humanitarian Technical Universityand was one of the creative writers and the General Director for the University radio station. Her adaptation of Ioseliani’s Six Spinsters and One Man was performed at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in September of 2008 and Sarke was performed there in September of 2010.

Ramaz Zurabashvili is a dancer, choreographer, actor and theater director. From 1997 to 2005 he studied acting and directing at the Shota Rustaveli Georgian State University of Theatre and Film. While still at the university he became a teacher-choreographer and subsequently, the chief choreographer at the very popular Theatrical School-Studio Berikebi. He worked in show-ballet Vernisage as a solo dancer and choreographer between 1998 and 2006. He was choreographer for several performances, including Bloody Wedding, Tomorrow will be Christmas and Man of La Mancha. He directed Anton Chekhov’s Bear at the theatre Sardapi in 2005 with consultant Levan Tsuladze, and Bertold Brecht’s Kind Man from Sichuan at the School of Liberty in 2006. In 2007 he was invited to the prestigious Marjanishvili State Drama Theater, as director for Noel Coward’s Private Lives. With the Georgian Theater of New York he was choreographer and co-director and performed the role of Mitua in the original production of Ioseliani’s Six Spinsters and One Man.

Formed in 1996 and incorporated three years later as a New York State non-profit corporation, Dancing Crane’s aim is to promote Georgian arts and culture within the Georgian-American community and to provide programs that both strengthen the sense of identity for Georgians living in New York and present the best of Georgian culture to the general public. Their artists and instructors are professional dancers, musicians and theater artists trained in Georgia and now residents in New York. Dancing Crane includes the professional dance ensemble with choreographer Vladimer “Dato” Goderidze, the Mgzavruli Music Ensemble led by Vano Goderdzishvili, New York’s first and only Georgian theater company – the Georgian Theater of New York – with director and playwright Lia Bakhturidze Sirelson, and the children’s choreographic ensemblePesvebi with director and choreographer Shorena Barbakadze. Their school includes classes and performance in Georgian dance, music and theater. There are over 100 children in the classes and 35 performers in the professional companies.www.dancingcrane.org.

The Midtown International Theatre Festival, now in its twelfth year, celebrates the diversity of theatre. The MITF welcomes theatrical storytelling across a broad spectrum of genres, forms, identities, cultures, and appetites. The MITF seeks to nurture these new ideas, perspectives, and stories on its stages, with an eye set on guiding these productions toward future success and longevity. The festival, traditionally held in summer, represents a fantastic, often paradoxical, adventurous and intriguing cross-section of the forefront of the theatre world. The MITF proudly hosts production companies from across the country and around the globe, uniting talent in one of the biggest theatre capitals in the world.

John Chatterton created the MITF in 2000, a Midtown alternative to other theatre festivals, as a way to present the finest off-off Broadway talent in convenience, comfort, and safety. In 2008, the Festival added two 99-seat theatres and inaugurated the Commercial Division for upwardly mobile shows with commercial ambitions.

For more information, visit www.midtownfestival.org.

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