Mariam Vardanyan’s Star Rising

Mariam Vardanyan

From a very young age, Mariam Vardanyan has been honing her craft. She has done theater, film and is also very versatile dancer, having chosen Flamenco dancing as her forte.

Asbarez’s Georges Adourian caught up with Vardanyan, who told him about her inspirations, drive and what started it all for her.

Georges Adourian: You’ve been acting from a very young age. Why acting?

Mariam Vardanyan: To me, acting is way of learning, growing; it’s a way of completing me. It’s the means to challenge to be a better person. By learning how to portray a new character and present the reasons why the character behaves a particular way and make that understood by an audience is the most rewarding and fulfilling for me.

G.A.: If you weren’t acting what would you do?

M.V.: It is an unthinkable proposition. It is as difficult to answer that question as it would be if I were to tell you what I would do if didn’t feel or breath. I don’t think of acting as something external or optional.

G.A.: You also are a professional Flamenco dancer. Why did you choose Flamenco and not another form of dance?

M.V.: Dancing Flamenco is my way of charging my inner world. It’s a bridge to connect with nature, and it’s a source of renewal. It’s so many different things depending on what mood I am in and what challenges I am facing, but in all cases it’s a recharging and it’s uplifting.

G.A.: What inspires you the most?

M.V.: Looking at the sky at night and seeing the constellations performing their eternal dance on the canvas of universe. As if I am reading God’s handwriting. That’s what inspires me.

G.A.: Soon, the feature film “Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage,” in which you play the lead, will be released. Tell us about it.

M.V.: I am not at liberty to give more information than what it is on the Web site. Plus, I don’t want to spoil your experience of seeing the film, but I will share with you some details. It’s the story of Sinbad’s fifth voyage as its title indicates. Sinbad, an ancient mythical character that appears in Persian, Armenian (Sinbad) and Arabic folklore, was made famous to the Western word by Richard Burton’s 1885 translation of “The Book of One Thousand and One Nights.” I play the role of Sinbad’s mother when she was a teenager and pregnant with Sinbad. It’s a fascinating role involving lots of physical and emotional struggles, both within and with external forces. The great settings, romance, action and adventure bring lots of color and drama to the film. I was excited to work with Patrick Stewart, Said Faraj, Lorna Raver. 

G.A.: Tell us about your future projects.

M.V.: There are several projects that my manager is working on; however I would like to talk about two of them. First is a photo show presented by Jose Zakany, where my photos will be on display. The show will go on in next few months. The event is to showcase very successful photographer Jose Zakany. I was humbled when Zakany approached me to showcase his art by presenting only my photos. I was flattered, because he is a famous photographer who has worked with so many great models and actors. I am looking forward to the show. The other is a feature film, which is in pre production. The film is a drama that takes place in Los Angeles. It is produced by Aki Aleong, a very successful actor and director. In the title role, I play Anoush, an Armenian immigrant .The consequence of being in the wrong place at the wrong time by a young immigrant who falls in love is a heartbreaking story. I am looking forward to the film, because it’s going to give me yet another opportunity to work with a wonderful cast and crew. 

G.A.: Why did you become an actor?

M.V.: It must have been fate. Famous-Armenian actor Khoren Abrahamyan needed a child to perform in the play “Corado.” My mom decided that I was the one. I was only three. I must have done something right, because I was called back. My first performance opened the door for me to act in many different plays. By the time I came to the States, I had done more than 15 plays. I continued acting in America, mostly concentrating in film. So, when it was time for me to go to college, it was natural for me to choose acting and directing as a major. I got my Bachelor’s degree from the California State University Los Angeles and am currently working on a Master’s degree in directing and acting.

G.A.: How is acting in film different than theater?

M.V.: There are a lot of similarities and differences. I look at it from three different perspectives: technical, emotional and environmental. From a technical point of view, to fully express the role, I adjust my intonation and stylistic movement to adapt to the environment. Emotionally, in theater we have the advantage of immediate feedback and you can rise or fall with the energy of the audience. However with film, you don’t know exactly which expression or articulation of the character is going to end up on the screen. Film affords another benefit. We can work on a scene as many times as the director likes. Choosing between them is not really a choice. I go back and forth… Theatre will always be my emotional home, but now I gravitate toward film.

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