NEW YORK–Art has once again come to the aid of the Armenian Cause–this time in the form of a play called Beast on the Moon. The beautiful and gripping story by Richard Kalinoski–about two survivors who settle in the United States and seek to start a family in the wake of the genocide of their past–powerfully discloses the true nature of the events of 1915.
The play–honored by the American Theatre Critics Association in 1996–has been performed in 16 nations–translated into 11 languages–and won more than 40 awards around the world.
Producers of the developing New York production of Kalinoski’s play are now aiming the work at Broadway in 2005. On November 12–in New York City–producer David Grillo of Stillwater Productions–spoke at a workshop meant to attract the remaining investors needed to stage Beast on the Moon this spring.
The American play about Armenian immigran’s still dealing with the shadows of the 1915 Armenian genocide–even as they face hope and opportunity in their new home in Milwaukee–"is an absolutely universal tale of love as a healing tool in the aftermath of wartime loss," remarked Grillo.
Armenian-Americans will be doubly compelled to see this play. On a purely human level–the audience must grapple with the complexity of how love enables the most deeply unexpressed feelings to emerge and be potentially healed–while an Armenian audience will connect with the pathos of what many grandparents and great-grandparents endured as they struggled to construct a life in the aftermath of witnessing the vicious destruction of their families.
The work–billed as "a love story–and an American immigrant story," is set in 1921 Milwaukee–Wisconsin. Mr. Aram Tomasian first greets Mrs. Seta Tomasian as a fifteen year-old girl–who has been rescued from Armenia to live as his mail-order bride. As these two very different people go through twelve years of marriage–they confront the challenge of merging their opposite approaches to managing grief. Seta–open and talkative–strives to deal with the loss of her family by sharing with her husband. Fiercely determined to replace his slaughtered family by producing children of his own–Aram is quiet and brooding. Because of the starvation she experienced as a refugee–Seta is unable to bear children. Their relationship comes to an impasse; yet through the darkest momen’s–it is clear that the marriage is infused with deep love and need for one another.
The couple befriends a young Italian orphan boy–whom Seta has welcomed in her home and Aram grows to love. By the play’s end–Aram sheds some of his rigidity–and thanks to his extraordinary young wife–discovers the possibility of happiness.
By supporting this play–Armenian-Americans will participate in a form of activism guaranteed to be deeply enriching on many levels. Members of the audience will reflect on how love enables traumatized individuals to regenerate their lives through building a family–while they will learn about one of the greatest injustices of the twentieth century.
"So much appeals to me about Beast that it is hard to find a place to begin," Grillo previously told Playbill On-Line. "It is an extraordinarily challenging drama with a surprising number of well-earned laughs. The play takes its audiences through an emotional cataclysm and delivers them–at its finish–to joyful redemption. I don’t like plays that ask me to jump through emotional hoops and then leave me beaten up by the side of the road. Beast is redemptive. The journey is hard–but one for which the audience is enormously grateful."
To learn more about Beast on the Moon–visit www.playbill.com/index.php. For those interested in possibly investing in its Broadway production–contact the producer David Grillo at 212-541-4502 or at [email protected]