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Irma Dolidze


The Shota Rustaveli State University of Theatre and Film of Georgia has turned 100 years old.

This important event is the subject of the present study, which is concerned with researching the collection of sketches of theatre performances kept in the university museum. These theatre performances were created for and on the stage of the university, formerly the theatre school. Several articles have already been written as part of this research - both on the collection as a whole and on individual artists (painters) such as Alexandra Tevsadze, Irina Sternberg and Dimitri Tavadze. The present article is a continuation of this research. The aim of the article is to enable the use of these sketches for scientific purposes and to publicise the work of such stage painters as Parnaoz Lapiashvili and Boris Loktin.

The collection of sketches includes about 300 pieces and represents sketches of theatre performances - diploma works and annual works of the theatre school. The sketches were created by well-known painters of the 20th century who have gone down in the history of Georgian scenography: Irine Sternberg, Dimitri Tavadze, Givi Tseradze, Boris Loktin, Parnaoz Lapiashvili, Alexandra Tevsadze, Ivenhoe Chelidze, Tinatin Heine and others. Over the decades, these painters have created the stage sets for performances at the theatre school. Two of them are the focus of this article - Boris Loktin (in the years 1940-1950) and Parnaoz Lapishvili (in the years 1951-1972).

Boris Loktin (1903-1985) started working at the theatre school immediately after its restoration in 1939. In the years 1938-1950 he was a stage painter at the Al. Gribojedov theatre in Tbilisi. He also worked with the Russian theatre troupe of the Tbilisi Youth Theatre. B. Loktin was associated with the theatre since his youth. In 1920 he began working as an assistant to the director and set designer. From 1927 he worked as a set designer in theatres in various cities (Grozny, Taganrog, Kaluga, Ashkhabad, Yaroslav, Tbilisi, etc.). In 1950 he was awarded the title of Honoured Painter of Georgia, in 1950 - the title of Honoured Painter of Russia.

In the years 1940-1950, B. Loktin made decorations for 22 theatre productions at the theatre school, the sketches of which are kept in the museum: for A. Arbuzov's and A. Gladkov's “The Immortals” (1944), M. Gorky's “The Last” (1947), P. de Beaumarchais' “Marriage of Figaro“, (1947 and 1951), J. Jaluner’s “Pleasant Care” (1950), K. Simonov’s “Shadow of the Other” (1950), A. Lavrenjov’s “The Voice of America” (1950), A. Ostrovsky's “Guiltless Guilt” (1950).

According to the programme booklets, Boris Loktin also created the stage sets for the following performances: W. Shakespeare's “Much Ado About Nothing” (1940-41),

Brunstein's “Sky-Blue and Pink” (1941-42), A.Ostrovsky's “A Stupidity Makes Even the Cleverest” (1943-44), M. Gorky's “Petit Bourgeois” (1944-45), C. Goldoni's “La locandiera”/”Mirandolina”/” The Mistress of the Inn“ (1945-46), F. Pyat’s “Le chiffonnier de Paris” (1945-46), A. Safronov's “In a City” (1947-48), J. Fučík's “Reportage written under the rope” (1947-48), M. Gorky's “Vassa Zheleznova” (1948-49), V. Sobko's “Behind the Second Front” (1949-50), M. Gorky's “Children of the Sun” (1949-50) and others.

He had a great friendship with the director G. Tovstonogov. The two created many theatre productions together at the theatre school, such as “The Gossipers”, „Much Ado about Nothing“, “Sky-blue and pink”, „Enough Stupidity in Every Wise Man“ , „The Philistines“, „The Mistress of the Inn“.

The stage design created by B. Loktin for theatre performances reflects the tendencies of the art of the 40s and 50s of the 20th century, which consisted in presenting the stage design as close to reality as possible. This tendency was much more pronounced in the 1940s, but did not lose its relevance in the 1950s. Everyday life took root on the stage and the theatre took on a prosaic character.

In 1950 B. Loktin moved to Vladivostok. There he worked as a leading painter at the

  1. Gorky Theatre. In total, B. Loktin created stage designs for more than 300 theatre performances, including stage designs for theatre performances at the Tbilisi Theatre Academy, which he had created over the course of 20 years.

In 1950, Parnaoz Lapiashvili (1917-1994) began designing sets for performances at the theatre academy. At this time, he was already a versatile painter with a broad creative palette. He worked in theatres and opera houses. He created stage sets for opera and ballet performances, as well as for film. He holds the title of Honoured Artist of Georgia.

  1. Lapiashvili began working in the theatre in 1940, while still a student. After working at the Marjanishvili Theatre (1943-1945), he was the leading stage designer at the Rustaveli Theatre (1946-1968) and at the same time he created stage designs for performances at the Theatre Academy.

He entered the theatre school in the academic year 1950-1951 and his first work was the set design for the theatrical performance of I. Popov’s “Family” (1951). P. Lapiashvili had also previously worked on this play at the Rustaveli Theatre. The sets are almost identical.


According to the repertoire programmes of the University Theatre, P. Lapiashvili created stage sets for the following performances in 1951-1972: A. Afinogenov's “Mashenka” (1951), A. Ostrovsky's “A Profitable Position” (1952), M. Gorksi's “The Last Ones“ (1953),

  1. Gabeskiria's “Spring Morning” (1954), A. Ostrovsky's “Late Love” (1955), Jean-Paul Sartre's “Lizzie Mackay” (1956), M. Baratshvili's “My Flowerland” (1961), L. Chubabria's “The Servant of Three Masters” (1971), for operetta concert evenings - J. Offenbach’s “La Périchole”, I. Kalman’s “The Violet of Montmartre”, J. Miljutin’s “Chanita’s Kiss”, Fr. Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” (1972).

Of these performances, the collection contains sketches from the years 1951-1956 for the theatre performances “Mashenka”, “The Last Ones”, “Late love”, “Spring morning”, “Lizzie Mackay”, “The Family”.

In P. Lapiashvili's pencil sketches and designs, you can see the artist's approach to the characters of the main figures and the search for the right and appropriate solution for the entire set. He works tirelessly on the variations, versions and every detail. Only then does he create a unified stage set from his work - a sketch of visual art.

Sketches created by P. Lapiashvili in the second half of the 1950s bear witness to the upheaval in his work. The new way of reinterpreting painterly tasks is accompanied by the “rehabilitation” of the specific essence of theatre art, as a reaction to “naturalism”.

  1. Lapiashvili continued to work on stage sets for theatre productions at the theatre school in the 1960s. At that time, he was a well-known stage designer throughout the Soviet Union. In 1967 he was awarded the title of People’s Artist of Georgia.

  2. Lapiashvili made a very special contribution to the history of Georgian scenography. He created the sets for more than 100 theatre performances in Georgia and in theatres in other countries. The sketches for the performances at the theatre school are also an inseparable part of the work of this special artist.

The sketches of theatre performances created by Parnaoz Lapiashvili and Boris Loktin, which are kept in the museum of Shota Rustaveli State University of Theatre and Film, are of great artistic value not only for the century-old University of Theatre and Film, but also for the history of Georgian art of theatre painting of the 20th century.

Published: May 20, 2024

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