(from berika—the term for an actor of the Georgian folk masque theater—and oba—a suffix meaning “action”), a Georgian popular theater of masque and improvisation.
The origin of berikaoba is associated with the agricultural cult of fertility and reproduction and the cult of the pagan gods Kviria and Telef. At the base of the work of berikaoba actors— berikas—are plays (of which 100 have been written down) that were developed over many generations. The berikaoba performances were anticlerical and opposed to serfdom. The traditional berikaoba masques are a groom, a bride, a matchmaker, a judge, a doctor, a priest, a hog, a goat, a bear, and so forth. A detailed description of berikaoba is found in 17th-century literary works. Berikaoba performances were given at Easter, during other religious holidays, at weddings, and so forth. As a rule, all the roles were played by men. The songs and melodies performed during berikaoba plays were called berikuli. Berikaoba lasted until the end of the 19th century.