ARLINGTON, VA: Paata Tsikurishvili thinks the evil Dr. Moreau is the perfect character for him. The Georgian-born actor/director last appeared onstage in 2010, and he believes the mad scientist suits his own tendency toward the physical and the fantastical. “Even my accent will really work well for this character,” adds Tsikurishvili, who grew up in the Republic of Georgia and recalls starting acting at age nine when “there was nothing for fun behind the Iron Curtain, so it was serious, and we were really heavily trained.”
Now there is plenty of fun to be had with The Island of Dr. Moreau, as Tsikurishvili, who is the company’s founding artistic director, is focused on the mission of Synetic Theater, where the adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel will run through Nov. 2. Synetic is “a contemporary theatre doing a synthesis of different art forms,” says Tsikurishvili, who started the company because when he moved to the States he realized “there was no such thing as a theatre where different art forms were fused together—so that became my passion.”
Tsikurishvili refers to his approach to Dr. Moreau, which he also directs, as “fantastic realism.” “I want to have very naturalistic moments and at the same time very fantastical and magical ones,” he explains. In the story, Dr. Moreau indulges in animal vivisection—turning animals into human-like creatures—and Tsikurishvili believes this story can be related to today’s world; he plans on creating an abstract production, from which audiences can draw their own conclusions. “We always try to ‘improve mankind,’” he explains.