Since March 2018, Georgia has added one more theatrical show to its cultural calendar tailored specifically towards the tourists. The show is perfect for those who are short in time and can’t explore the country, its customs, and traditions. Welcome to Georgia Musical has it all, Georgian dances, songs, and cultural aspects are shown with humor and joy. However, don’t be discouraged if you are not a big fan of the musicals, as it’s not quite that. It simply shows what happens when you are invited in Georgian family when each and every person tries to make you as comfortable as they can, which might even turn into a bit of a harassment with hospitality.
Why see Welcome to Georgia Musical?
As I said, it’s a perfect opportunity to get to know a bit more about Georgia through a theatrical show that features traditional costumes, cuisine, dances, songs, and tells the audience about history, culture, and traditions. 18 actors throughout the 90-minute show, perform live and try to welcome you and make you fall in love with the country, as much as we, the Georgians, do.
Most of the show is in English, but those that are in Georgia do have subtitles and a bit of annotation of the word or situation, so you easily get the idea what’s going on. Songs are in Georgian, but the name and a small explanation are projected on the walls of the stage, so you know that’s the song about.
Moreover, the actors try to be as engaging and interactive with the audience as possible. This is what I liked the most. For instance, when a tamada (the toastmaker) delivers a toast about friendship and hospitality, he gives a clay cup full of wine to several people from the audience, asks them where they are from and drinks the toast with them.
The plot of the show is very simple. A Georgian guy studying in France on Viticulture faculty meets a French-American girl and falls in love with her. George brings Julie to Georgia to introduce her to his friends, family and the country.
The show starts with a scene in one of the Kakhetian villages at Maro’s house, where she and her neighbors are enjoying an evening with singing and playing games. When it’s time to call it a night, Maro’s grandson, George, calls to notify that he, Julie, and a couple of his friends are coming tonight except tomorrow.
If you’ve heard a bit about Georgian hospitality, you might know how this news is ‘devastating’ for the housewives of the old generation. The welcoming should be perfect, with the table already set and full of “food on food”, especially when you are hosting someone from a different country. So the chaos of preparation start, where neighbors bring whatever they have in the house – chacha (the strongest spirit), dried fruits, churchkhela (candle-shaped grape juice and walnut snack) … And when the “kids” arrive, this is where the whole magic and introduction of the country starts.
Julie, also a Viticulture faculty student, knows a bit about the country’s customs, traditions, and wine-making, but is eager and enthusiastic to learn more. Dimitri, the toastmaker of traditional dinner setting called supra, tells all the important facts about the country and engages with the audience to make them feel that they, as well, are part of the show, sitting at the supra along with the actors.
The bottom line
From the local’s point of view, I have enjoyed the show as it truly shows what it’s like to be a foreigner in Georgia and to put a spotlight on a person that might not feel comfortable. We have all done that at some point.
The songs, dances, and the jokes were chosen perfectly, while the actors who are not used to perform in English nor entertain the audience with the majority of them being a foreigner, did exceed my expectations.
I would say that the show is a great way to welcome it’s visitors to Georgia and a nice way to spend an evening in Tbilisi after all those walks and munching on our cuisine.