Armenians in Los Angeles commemorated the centennial of the Genocide last month with a march so mammoth that it resembled a human flood flowing through three of the city’s major thoroughfares.
Eric Bogosian’s new book is not a novel or a script or a volume of monologues – the genres for which he is best known.
BY ARAM KOUYOUMDJIAN This past fall, at a conference on “Armenian Art and Culture in the Ottoman Empire Before 1915,” I presented a paper entitled “Arrested Development: Western Armenian Theater in the Nineteenth Century.” The paper examined the emergence of Western Armenian theater in Constantinople – or “Bolis” – amidst a period of national awakening…
The word “showstopper” is often used loosely and, as a result, its meaning has come to be diluted. A true “showstopper” is a moment in a play or a musical so wondrous that the prolonged applause it inspires actually brings the performance to a halt.
So far as I know, Armenian performance art in Los Angeles has not confronted issues of gender and sexual identity ever since Nancy Agabian left these parts for the East Coast over a decade ago.
Audiences familiar with Vahik Pirhamzei’s work are apt to recognize his Uncle Rafael character, who first appeared on stage and later on screen.
Since only a handful of Armenian plays grace Southland stages in any given year, the concentration of four – four! – plays in a single month must have required a rare alignment of the planets.
The great Armenian satirist Hagop Baronian wrote about the foibles of the Armenian bourgeoisie in Constantinople during the latter half of the 19th century, skewering that echelon for its materialistic and ostentatious tendencies. Since such tendencies still prevail in present-day Armenian-American communities, Baronian’s century-old plays could have contemporary relevance.
Sitting in a theater in Sydney a few weeks ago, waiting for the start of the play “Sweet Nothings” – directed by John Kachoyan – I could not help but think of William Saroyan’s lines about Armenians encountering one another in all corners of the world.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at the ANCA Grassroots Conference, which examined the interplay between Armenian arts and activism.