Theatre Spotlight: Anna Cherkezishvili

Leona Reyes
6 min readDec 11, 2020

For today’s Theatre Spotlight, I am excited to introduce Anna Cherkezishvili who is an actor from Georgia. For this interview, we talk about her experience working as an international actress. Enjoy!

Anna Cherkezishvili, Actress
  1. Why did you choose to become a theatre actress?

I was born in Georgia. As a child in the 90's, I experienced a civil war in my country. My family had to go through difficult social times but despite this, my mom was focused on making sure I would maintain a proper education while I was growing up. Both of my parents noticed my interest in art and music and they started taking me to the children’s theater often. Since then, I developed strong interest in acting.

I loved to perform as a child, either at kindergarten or school productions or even at home for the family members. I would get my family members together and improvise songs or perform poems for them. After third grade, I remember I started writing poetry and short stories. I remember my grandmother encouraged my artistic inclinations a lot and sometimes, I would recreate scenes for her from the children’s musicals or read stories I wrote. When I graduated from school, my only dream was to become an artist; as it was an escape from tough political times and financial crisis I was witnessing in my country. I entered college in Georgian University of Theatre and Film and since then, I never looked back or regretted on making a choice to be an artist. I was always fascinated by how plays could depict life and today I feel so blessed to be part of the theatre world.

Dramatic Adventure Theatre Production Photo

2. What is the difference between the performing arts scene in Georgia and in New York?

Georgians have a great appreciation for the Theatre as well as Americans. I would say classical theatre and modern theatre is as common in Georgia as in the US but the diversity of the theatrical styles such as immersive theater, experimental theater, physical theatre is more common in US. I would say New York has the world’s one of the most diverse theatrical styles offered for the audience. There is the legendary musical theatre such as Broadway and then various classical and experimental and immersive theatre companies as well as theatre companies representing different parts of the world, such as Russian Theatre companies or Georgian, or Irish, Italian and so.on. It’s incredible. I have not seen this anywhere else; that in one city, you can be introduced to the theatre and performances and culture of the world. I have even seen performances in different languages with English subtitles in the theaters. In that regard, New York has probably the greatest diversity of theatre industry in the world. I definitely think New York is internationally recognized as the major theatre industry center of the world for the reason that any new theatrical form can take its shape and develop and find its audience there.

3. What is your favorite production you have been a part of and why?

I truly love all the productions I have been part of as they all are memorable in it’s own way to me. I would say my recent lead role as Monica in the production of No Friends was one of my all time favorite parts, as it was so closely related to my own experiences as an actor and as a person in real life. I was playing a role of the Georgian international student going through cultural changes in the US. It’s about a character having trouble finding friends and having trouble to fit in in the culturally different environment. But in the end, she finds people who accept her for who she is and feels as she belongs. The play was written by a very talented actress and playwright, Myrna Davonne, and coming from the fact that she herself relates to the experiences of the character as well, I could find easy and clear communication with her when we worked on this together. I was very happy to learn about the nomination of this play’s director, Chrysi Sylaidi, who garnered Director of the Play of the Decade by Broadway World 2020. I think she was wonderful to work with and all of the actors had definitely a fruitful collaboration with her. I think it is a great achievement that the play deserved this kind of attention and it’s something I am very excited about.

4. What are the challenges that you face when tackling a role?

I would say making sure that I truly understand the environment of the character’s life is a challenging step as it is important not to miss the details that could help me to create the role. If the character is too different from me as a person, it can be challenging too, as I need to do a lot of work to fully realize how to find the key to this character’s personality. I always find research very helpful and of course, trying out different acting techniques helps me step by step to embody the part. I have learned from great mentors that I need to have my heart open as well, not only know the technique. There is a wonderful teacher I’ve met at Stella Adler, her name is Betsy Parrish, she used to teach Meryl Streep and many legendary actors like her. Betsy taught me to always keep up the spirit and I think that is the most important for actors when facing challenges.

5. Who are some theatre artists that you enjoy working with?

There are so many great theatre artists that I have been honored to work with. I greatly enjoyed my participation in the artistic development program sessions with The Private Theatre. I met inspiring actors and theater makers there and John Gould Rubin, the artistic director of the company, guided us into the world of immersive theatre work. I always enjoy working with my friends and colleagues, Myrna Davonne and Abbey Glasure. It was wonderful to work with Nick Linnehan and Ms. June Ospa, an amazing playwright at the Identity Theatre. I definitely stay in touch and have honor working with Dramatic Adventure Theatre directors, playwrights and artists, among which were founders Jesse and Mary Baxter; and directors Tom Castello and Ryan Whinnem. They all contributed to my growth as an actress. I had an opportunity to meet and work with other great directors as well, such as Suzi Takahashi, Noel MacDuffie, Tom Oppenheim, Tom Rowan and Colette Robert. I am looking forward to working on the new project with Rusudan Tchibabria, a Georgian writer.

6. Do you have any upcoming projects?

I have so many play ideas I would like to fulfill and I am lucky to know great artists that I am collaborating with.

One of the projects I am very excited about is portraying the lead role, Hannah, in the project “Hannah” with Ms. Rusudan Tchubabria. This is the kind of play that can bring together Eastern European Immigration to the theatre as well as American. We intend to tell the story of a Georgian immigrant woman and her journey towards becoming a citizen of the US where she works hard to attain the ‘American Dream.’

Another project I am looking forward to work on among others, is “A Mirror Returns Image with No Face” which is a play in development, centered about a female character who experienced traumatic events related to violence. I am portraying the lead role in this production and I look forward on working towards portraying a complex character, knowing fully that it is a big responsibility to work on the play that depicts traumatic experience.

I am looking forward to work on lighter genres such as comedic and melodramatic as well. Myrna Davonne and I have three new play projects coming up. One of them is continuation and the full length play “No Friends” where I played lead role for the TeamTheatre.

Anna Cherkezishvili and Myrna Davonne in No Friends

A big thank you to Anna Cherkezishvili for doing this interview with us. To learn more about Anna Cherkezishvili follow her on Backstage :