The tiger and the lion

  • The tiger and the lion Photo: Felix Grünschloß
  • The tiger and the lion Photo: Felix Grünschloß
  • The tiger and the lion Photo: Felix Grünschloß
  • The tiger and the lion Photo: Felix Grünschloß

Royal District Theatre (Georgia) and Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (Germany)

The Caucasus has been in upheaval for 100 years: independent small states, an overarching Soviet republic, then individual republics, the Wehrmacht shortly before the mountains, the collapse of the Soviet Union, wars, border conflicts, a new national consciousness and yet the desire to be part of Europe. In 1937 over 100 Georgian artists and intellectuals were eliminated - by order of the Georgian Stalin, organized by his Georgian secret service chief Beria. Directors, theatre directors, world-famous musicians, authors read throughout the Soviet Union disappeared, including Paolo Iashvili, who was forced to commit suicide in the House of Writers. The stuffed tiger and the lion, silent witnesses to this crime, can still be seen there today. A culture thousands of years old was deprived of its spiritual orientation and freedom.
Based on true stories, “The Tiger and the Lion” attempts to draw a collage of personal stories of people, as a memory of what happened and a warning of what might happen when the ideology is trying to control art. The production addresses the controversy associated with the period as well as complex biographies of authors.

To name a few of them:

  • Olga Okujava – one of those most important female revolutionary authors, being affiliated with Mensheviks, was sent to exile to Siberia and died in a Gulag.
  • Titsian Tabidze – acclaimed symbolist poet, active member of the Writers’ Union of Soviet Georgia, disappeared from the train on his way to Siberia, allegedly killed before he reached the destination Gulag.
  • Mikheil Javakhishvili – the most brilliant representative of Georgian fiction, considered to be the greatest Georgian novelist of all times by many critics, executed in 1937.
  • Grigol Robakidze, famous writer, escaped to Germany/Switzerland in 1930ies, being a pro-fascist author and ultra nationalist, and continued to write in German until his death. His books were banned in the Soviet Union.
And there are the stories of the authors who conformed in order to survive.

Direction: Data Tavadze | Stage & Costumes: Sebastian Hannak | Light: Christoph Pöschko | Text & Research: Davit Gabunia | Dramaturgy: Jan Linders, Jakob Schumann

This project is part of round 2 of the International Coproduction Fund, year 2016-2017.