What? ALZHIR, a documentary one-act drama
Where? Griboedov Theater (Tbilisi, Georgia)
When? November 24, 6 p.m.
ALZHIR (Russian acronym for Akmolinsk Camp for Wives of Traitors to the Motherland)
Direcor and author of the stage version — Avtandil Varsimashvili
Set design — Mirian Shvelidze
Musical arrangement — Eliso Orjonikidze
Cast: Lyudmila Artyomova-Mgebrishvili, Inna Vorobiyeva, Natalia Voronyuk, Nino Kikacheishvili, Mariam Kitia, Sofia Lomjaria, Anna Nikolava
In the history of Georgia and Georgian theater, ALZHIR is the first attempt to reflect — in an artistic and documentary manner — on the period when guiltless women were subjected to deliberate repressions. All their guilt towards the Soviet government was in being the wives. The wives of “the traitors to the motherland” who had been arrested, exiled, executed by shooting… Women from some of Georgia’s most famous families languished in ALZHIR’s detention facilities — Kira Andronikashvili, the wife of writer Boris Pilnyak; Ketevan Orakhelashvili, the wife of music conductor Yevgeniy Mikeladze; Ashkhen Nalbandyan, the mother of writer Bulat Okujava; Yekaterina Kulijanova, the mother of film direcor Leo Kulijanov; Alexandra Dumbadze-Bakhtadze, the mother of writer Nodar Dumbadze, and his aunt Tamara Dumbadze…
ALZHIR is a play staged in the genre of documentary drama. The tragic story is based on factual evidence: records, reports, letters, photographs and the witnesses’ memoirs… It is the chronicle of one of the most dreadful camps of the Soviet era — the Akmolinsk Camp for Wives of Traitors to the Motherland, or ALZHIR as this one of the three “islands” of “The Gulag Archipelago” founded 80 years ago was dubbed by its Russian acronym. Its prisoners were repressed as the CHSIRs — another Russian acronym that means “family members of traitors to the motherland.” The play tells the stories of ALZHIR’s prisoners from Georgia — these women’s lives and destinies, their ordeals and dreams, hopes and the defeat of their hopes. Only 8 thousand women completed their time in the camp, from bell to bell. Almost 300 of them were from Georgia. ALZHIR documentary drama is a tribute to them.
The play premiered on April 28, 2017.
Duration: 1 hour 25 minutes
Cover image credit: www.griboedovtheatre.ge