LOS ANGELES—The world premiere production of “Constantinople” won three Broadway World L.A. Awards this week, prevailing over dozens of contenders after six weeks of public voting. Best Director of a Play honors went to Aram Kouyoumdjian, who also authored the piece, while Travis Laughlin and Eva Abramian were named Leading Actor in a Play and Featured Actress in a Play, respectively.
“Constantinople,” which was staged by Vista Players last fall, focuses on the Armenian community in the former Ottoman capital during the post-Genocide era at a time of political intrigue, military struggle, and a growing feminist movement.
Its plot centers around Vehanoush, the editor of a feminist journal, and Roupen, a guerilla fighter (“fedayee”) – played by Laughlin – who coordinate missions for the transport of weapons into Armenia and for the recovery of women and children abducted during the Genocide, including the character portrayed by Abramian.
Nearly sold-out for the entirety of its six-week run at the Secret Rose Theatre, “Constantinople” was hailed by critics as a “remarkable play” with “gorgeous writing” (Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros, NoHoArtsDistrict.com) and “expertly woven together by gifted director Aram Kouyoumdjian . . . and a talented cast” (Elaine Mura, “Splash Magazine LA”). Jeffrey Scott of BroadwayWorld.com singled out Laughlin’s performance as “exhilarating” and Abramian’s as “tour de force.”
A revival of the production in the Bay Area this spring is in the works.
The win marks the latest accolade for Kouyoumdjian, who is the winner of Elly Awards for both playwriting (“The Farewells”) and directing (“Three Hotels”). His feature plays and solo pieces have been performed in half a dozen cities, from Los Angeles (Fountain Theatre) to London (Finborough Theatre). Kouyoumdjian’s most recent productions include “Happy Armenians”; the open-air, site-specific performance “i Go On” at DTLA’s Grand Park; and 2018’s world premiere of “William Saroyan: The Unpublished Plays in Performance.” His next production with the “boundlessly talented” Vista Players, which “set the standard by which others were judged” (“Sacramento News & Review”), is “49 States,” slated for this fall.