Lena Gloria, in the midst of preparing for “Inside the Artist’s Mind” for the Global Forms Festival of Rattelstick Theatre, is planned to be presented later this year, sat down with one of the artists involved. This movement-based exploration of the artistic mind and creative process and will be created and presented in four languages: French, Georgian, Filipino and English.
“It’s about who actors are … in life, behind their work, what moves them to work as actors … and why,” said Anna Cherkezishvili (center – in headscarf) as she began to answer Ms. Gloria’s questions.
LENA: What’s your experience as a Georgian actress working in NYC?
ANNA: There is so much that I experienced here, it’s hard to put into words. I am fascinated by New York and I had tremendous growth here as an artist and as a person. I discovered my artistry to a whole another level and how to present my work the best way possible. I am of course still discovering these aspects of my life, but I’m on a much clearer path than I was before. I feel support and acceptance from theatre professionals I work with and I feel very happy about it. New York is center of the world in terms of art industries such as, theatre field, museum field, Oprah and ballet, as well as many other art forms. I try to expand my knowledge as much as possible as an artists and learn about other art forms as well not just theatre. I try to see as many cultural events as possible. I had opportunity to explore world class museums, festivals, parks, architectural masterpieces such as Upper East Side, Tribeca, Brooklyn Hieghts neighborhoods. Most importantly, I have met wonderful people and highly experienced theatre professionals from around the world here.
LENA: What inspires you about the theater scene in NYC?
ANNA: There is a lot to be inspired by in New York. What inspires me is high level of professionalism and standard of work. I really enjoy bold and revealing performances, that are very human and they definitely are one of the most inspiring works of art I have ever seen. I think there are no limitations to how creative artists can be in New York. Having an opportunity to meet so many great artists who live and work here is a great experience to have. In my experience New York is the outstanding place to be in, if someone wants to work in the theatre field or see great theatrical productions. I aquatinted myself with wonderful New York theatre scene since the day I arrived to the US. I must say some of my favorite theaters are of course Broadway theatres, and off Broadway theatres as well, places such as HERE Arts Center, New World Stages, St.Ann’s Warehouse, Upright Citizens Brigade, Signature Theatre, WP Theatre, La Mama and many more. These are the places where I have seen fantastic plays.
LENA: What would be your dream role and why?
ANNA: Medea is my dream role. It is an especially popular play in Georgia and since I was a child, I would hear about this play. The reason for it’s popularity is that, this Ancient Greek play is about a Georgian woman, Madea and about the legend of the Golden Fleece which was located in Georgian kingdom. The range of acting it would require to portray this role is really tremendous. And I have seen performances of Madea in US and in Georgia and both performances were very strong and it had different portrayal of Madea, depending on how the actress worked on the role. I would like to see what would be my way of embodying this tragic character’s life and I would give all my energy and passion to recreate this character on stage.
LENA: What advice would you give to other Georgian actors that want to perform in NYC?
ANNA: I would say try to stay in touch with your roots, as it can help you to bring your unique culture and perspective to work. Next step would be to learn as much as possible about American theatre and film, as well as musical theatre. It would be equally important to familiarize with the history of US and culture if possible. Make friends, they can introduce you to local culture which is going to be exciting for you. In terms of work experience, there are many companies to audition for and that’s something great to know. There are a lot of international artist, here as well and you could collaborate with them which can be a great experience.