LOS ANGELES–Comedic genius and avant-garde artist Vah? Berberian’s latest production Baron Garbis is set to hit the stage January 17 and will run through March 9, at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.
Written and directed by Vah?, Baron Garbis, a play in Armenian, is about a man who is transplanted from Bourdj Hammoud–the core of his existence–to an armchair in North Hollywood. There he wages war to defend the memories that have become his reality. A turbulent Baron Garbis conducts a passionate battle to defend his beliefs, actions, fears and ultimately his future, as layers of family history buried in secrecy are peeled. This universal story of family love, loyalty and honor is revealed as three generations ‘s Baron Garbis, his son Jirair and gran’son Khajag ‘s with vastly different pasts, upbringings, morals and values clash.
While the play delivers a powerful and dramatic performance, it is still laced with Vah?’s inescapable brand of humor that lovingly pokes fun at cultural mores and fallibilities. "Humor is an integral part of my existence, and integral part of our lives in general," he says. "If a writer is able to create a good balance between comedy and tragedy, then he or she has captured the essence of life that is composed of both."
The desire to establish that balance led Vah?, a veteran of the theatre, to return to writing and directing, even after gaining international acclaim with his monologues Yevaylen, Nayev and Dagaveen. "I realized with my one-man’shows that I was becoming self-absorbed. It was all dependent on me, and I wanted to do something that I was not actively in, and that held literary merit," says Vah?.
This production is a collaboration between good friends, most of whom have been working together for over two decades. The cast and crew of Baron Garbis includes the original cast and crew of Pink Elephant, staged in 1985, Quicksand in 1987 and 200 in 1989. "We are a tight-knit family and the friendship is still there," he says, stressing that he has missed his theatre family immensely.
Baron Garbis, a three-character play, has two alternating casts that include Ara Baghdoyan, Ara Madzounian, Maurice Kouyoumjian, Sako Berberian, Chris Bedian and Roupen Karakouzian, and is produced by Hrair S. Sarkissian.
Baron Garbis will run January 17 to March 9, 2008, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and every Sunday at 3pm at Whitefire Theater, located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks, CA.
For reservations and information on tickets, advertising and sponsorship, or to become a "Friend of Baron Garbis," call 818-397-7392 or visit www.BaronGarbis.com.