Dear Armen (www.deararmen.com), an audience-immersive theater experience starring Kamee Abrahamian and D. Lee Williams Boudakian, will be premiered in New York on May 7 at Alwan for the Arts (16 Beaver Street, Manhattan).
This play, premiered in Yerevan in September 2013, was inspired by Armen Ohanian, an enigmatic performer and poet who survived early 20th century anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku and became a famous name in Oriental dance throughout the West during the 1910s and 1920s. Integrating traditional Armenian dance, erotic performance, and spoken word, Dear Armen follows young Garineh, who has been delving into the life and art of Ohanian in search of a role model and mentor. Garineh begins unraveling questions about her own gender, sexuality, ethnicity, family, and the role of the artist in modern life.
Ohanian’s story serves as a means to uncover and explore the powerful and complex “femininity” of modern Armenian women. Ohanian was not only a performer, but also a producer, choreographer, and director—thus claiming roles that have been traditionally assigned to men. Through experimental, interdisciplinary performance, Saboteur Productions reincarnates Ohanian’s life and spirit – demonstrating her ability to transform herself and the audience’s perception of theatre and the erotic. The play’s narrative bridges a century of women and artists determined to live life on their own terms. The play was written by D. Lee Williams Boudakian and is directed by Abrahamian and Boudakian, with performance by Anna Pipoyan. A trailer is available at https://vimeo.com/75593828.
Independent producers Christopher Atamian and Kathleen Minogue Keagy are co-producing this New York premiere. Reception will be at 7:30 pm and showtime at 8:00 pm. Performances will follow on May 8, 10, 13, 15, and 16. Tickets are available at: http://deararmennyc.bpt.me/).
The performance of May 15 will be followed by a panel discussion, with the participation of Dr. Vartan Matiossian, co-author of an Armenian book about the life and work of Armen Ohanian, among other panelists.After New York, performances are announced in Toronto on May 25 and June 7, and Montreal (date to be announced).