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Things to Come: Dear Armen and Kalik

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Old 17 Jun 16, 17:02   #1 (permalink)
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Post Things to Come: Dear Armen and Kalik

Artist Abrahamian Discusses New Company, Upcoming Shows in Boston and New York

BOSTON, Mass. (A.W.)After a quick read of a Dear Armen synopsis, most will realize that it is like nothing they have seen before, at least in terms of Armenian theatre. An interactive-theatre experience that features monologue, spoken word, live music, traditional Armenian dance, and erotic performance, Dear Armen follows the story of genderqueer Garo who is studying the life and work of artist Armen Ohanian.

Abrahamian in ‘Dear Armen’

Born in Shamakha to an upper-class Armenian family in 1887, Ohanian moved to Baku with her family when she was 15. There, she witnessed anti-Armenian programs that would claim the life of her father, Emmanuel. Ohanian would eventually become one of the most prolific Armenian performers of her time, with her performances and work taking her to Paris, Egypt, Iran, London, Mexico, and elsewhere.

Dear Armen is really about three generations of women and gender non-conforming Armenians, says Kamee Abrahamian, one of the shows creators, in an interview with the Armenian Weekly.

Abrahamiana multidisciplinary producer, artist, facilitator, and storyteller born to an Armenian family in Torontofirst developed Dear Armen with lee boudakianwilliams in 2013 during a three-week artist residency at the Abrahamian Arts Centre in Yerevan.

Since its inception, Dear Armen has morphed from staged reading to interdisciplinary production featuring two distinct versions and five incarnations, which have toured throughout Canada, the U.S. and Armenia. The most recent versions of the play were directed by Anoushka Ratnarajah and featured music by Haig Ashod Beylerian.

Dear Armen is really about three generations of women and gender non-conforming Armenians.’

Boston will be our first official staged performance of the tour, Abrahamian says. Its changed so much. This is the second time weve toured this version. Im not sure if it will change much more after this, since it feels like its getting closer and closer to completion But its definitely a different show than when we launched it, says Abrahamian, adding that she plays a lot more characters this time around. Im doing a lot of the monologue for Armen instead of using recordings, and Im on stage a lot more, acting with lee. Its more dynamic; weve been feeding off each others energy. Im proud of this version.

According to Abrahamian, the characters come to life on stage. Its more experienced than it was. The story has developed; we get to get deeper into the characters. The ending is also completely developed, she explains. It has really evolved.

For Abrahamian, one of the highlights of Dear Armen is local participation. In each city we invite a bunch of local guest performers to share a piece during the show, she says, adding that the upcoming shows will be no different.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Dear Armen will also take the two to Detroit on June 16-19, as part of the Allied Media Conference. What were doing in Detroit is a little different. Well likely do a short version or a reading of Dear Armen as well as a workshop, Abrahamian explains.

The two have also been working on a workshop curriculum. We have a couple of workshops that were putting on. We are launching an ancestral story-telling workshop during the tour. The other one is a sort of sci-fi, futurism workshop, she explains. The ancestral story-telling writing and interdisciplinary arts workshop will be held on June 22 in Boston.

Abrahamian and boudakian also recently launched their new production company called Kalik. Were starting [Kalik] because we have so many projects on the go, and at this point we need to have it live under something, Abrahamian explains.

‘Dear Armen’ features monologue, spoken word, live music, traditional Armenian dance, and erotic performance.

Though Kalik was launched online through the popular crowd-funding platform Indigogo, its official launch event will take place in Abrahamians native Toronto on June 25.

The launch is happening at Beit Zatouna Middle Eastern arts and cultural center. It will feature performances and different types of art by artists, poets, musicians who are queer and trans and are from the Armenian and SWANA [Southwest Asia and North Africa] communities, she says. Following the launch, the two will perform Dear Armen in Brooklyn on July 6.

Through Kalik, the two will continue to do theatre and performance, but are looking at film as the next medium to explore. Well also continue to publish stuffwe now have one zine* out and wed like to continue publishing literature and poetry. Well also be doing more installations, she says. Last year, for the first time, the two presented Dear Armen as not a linear play, but as a performance installation in Armenia.

When asked about the name, Abrahamian says that there were a couple of reasons why they chose Kalik. First, its got both our names in it, Abrahamian says jokingly, and quickly reveals that is more of what she calls their secret reason. Kalik, in Armenian, means near future or things to come, she explains. Were trying to build a body of work that has an underlying theme of diasporic futurismso carving out space for ourselves in the world as Armenians living in the diaspora and building a vision for the future together, she says.

For Abrahamian and boudakian, the publics involvement is essential to their work. We appreciate any thoughts, feedback, and recommendations, Abrahamian says. (Readers can get in touch with them by visiting www.kalik.org.)

Abrahamian (left) and boudakian (right) recently launched their new production company called Kalik.

Abrahamian and boudakian are committed to their purposeto tell stories that focus on the struggles and successes of women, queer and trans Armenians, the SWANA community, and people of color. And through their performances, they continue to explore the intersections of identity, history, and cultural memory.

Dear Armen will be staged at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys (MIT) Kresge Little Theatre (48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Mass.) on June 21 at 8 p.m. and at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (421 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y.) on July 6 at 8 p.m.



* A zine is most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images.


Artist Abrahamian Discusses New Company, Upcoming Shows in Boston and New York BOSTON, Mass. (A.W.)After a quick read of a Dear Armen synopsis, most will realize that it is like nothing they have seen before, at least in terms of Armenian theatre. An interactive-theatre experience that features monologue, spoken word, live music, traditional Armenian dance, and erotic performance, Dear Armen follows the story of genderqueer Garo who is studying the life and work of artist Armen Ohanian. Abrahamian in ‘Dear Armen’ Born in Shamakha to an upper-class Armenian family in 1887, Ohanian moved to Baku with her family when she was 15. There, she witnessed anti-Armenian programs that would claim the life of her father, Emmanuel. Ohanian would eventually become one of the most prolific Armenian performers of her time, with her performances and work taking her to Paris, Egypt, Iran, London, Mexico, and elsewhere. Dear Armen is really about three generations of women and gender non-conforming Armenians, says Kamee Abrahamian, one of the shows creators, in an interview with the Armenian Weekly. Abrahamiana multidisciplinary producer, artist, facilitator, and storyteller born to an Armenian family in Torontofirst developed Dear Armen with lee boudakianwilliams in 2013 during a three-week artist residency [...]
Artist Abrahamian Discusses New Company, Upcoming Shows in Boston and New York BOSTON, Mass. (A.W.)After a quick read of a Dear Armen synopsis, most will realize that it is like nothing they have seen before, at least in terms of Armenian theatre. An interactive-theatre experience that features monologue, spoken word, live music, traditional Armenian dance, and erotic performance, Dear Armen follows the story of genderqueer Garo who is studying the life and work of artist Armen Ohanian. Abrahamian in ‘Dear Armen’ Born in Shamakha to an upper-class Armenian family in 1887, Ohanian moved to Baku with her family when she was 15. There, she witnessed anti-Armenian programs that would claim the life of her father, Emmanuel. Ohanian would eventually become one of the most prolific Armenian performers of her time, with her performances and work taking her to Paris, Egypt, Iran, London, Mexico, and elsewhere. Dear Armen is really about three generations of women and gender non-conforming Armenians, says Kamee Abrahamian, one of the shows creators, in an interview with the Armenian Weekly. Abrahamiana multidisciplinary producer, artist, facilitator, and storyteller born to an Armenian family in Torontofirst developed Dear Armen with lee boudakianwilliams in 2013 during a three-week artist residency [...]
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