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Pantomime, which took its foundation in the early epoch of the development of society and the fi rst form of which was primitive, went over the course of time to a very high level. Today, when we look at Marcel Marceau, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Louis Barrault, Violet, Henry Tomashevsky, Amiran Shalikashvili (whose name is associated with the creation of the Georgian pantomime theater), we understand that pantomime has undergone a great evolution. It is also home to the eastern old theater art. In India and China, we often find objects where the position and movement of the fi nger and hand have their own corresponding text, often viewers understand the content precisely from these signs.
Under such conditions, gestures and their defi nitions are ambiguous. The birthplace of European pantomime is old Greece. Here pantomime was born along with ancient myths and religious holidays. Antique dance was like a pantomime. This was also said by Plato. The fi rst pantomime performances were carried out at the holidays of Dionysus and Demeter. In Rome, during Caesar, pantomime was very popular. In the Middle Ages, they created the Italian folk “comedy of masks”, that is, as they call it “Comedy of aff airs arte”. The synthesis technique of the actors of the Italian theater gave them the opportunity to use not only words, but also pantomime, songs, dances, acrobatics.
Pantomime also had ancestors in Georgia. We can fi nd the roots of Georgian pantomime in the mysteries of Heturian origin. The refl ection of such mysteries we can fi nd on the famous silver thicket in Trialeti. In the Mysteries, dance occupied an important role. In the middle of the participants with masks stood a mimos who, with the help of movements and facial expressions, conveyed the contents of the songs. Such dances existed in several villages of Georgia until the end of the 19th century. For example, in Svaneti - during the festival in honor of the awakening of nature, “Meliai Telepai” danced. In some regions of Georgia there is an image of “Datvberikuli”. Interesting materials can be found in the theatrical stages “Berikaoba” and “Keenoba”
Pantomime elements can also be found in Georgian folk dances. For example, in the “Khorumi” dance, many stylized gestures and the plot for basic development is an important element. So, dances: “Farikaoba”, “Khevsuruli” and others.
In the histories of the Georgian theater, the fi rst pantomime performances are associated with the name of Kote Mardzhanishvili. In 1922, in the Russian drama theater - “New Theater” K. Mardzhanishvili staged “Attractive Light” by V. Metzeli, in 1926 in the Rustaveli Theater “Mzetamze”, and in “Kutaisi Theater” he staged “Fire” in 1930.
After K. Mardzhanishvili, the revival of pantomime in Georgia froze for almost half a century, until in the early 60s of the last century, actor Amiran Shalikashvili created a pantomime group, which in 1976 was the fi rst and only state theater in terms of the scale of the former Soviet Union. And this is another topic of research.