‘Sojourn at Ararat’ Released on CD and DVD


‘Sojourn at Ararat’ Released on CD and DVD

On Dec. 9, a day recently marked as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, Nora Armani, a New York-based writer, actress, and filmmaker, released “Sojourn at Ararat” on CD and DVD. Written by Nora Armani and Gerald Papasian in the mid 1980’s, “Sojourn at Ararat” is a two-actor stage play spanning 2,000 years of history. Presented as a simple love story, it evokes the identity, homeland, and culture of the Armenian people through poetry, literature, and legends, and is an homage to “all forgotten peoples” as it was termed during the play’s French premiere at the Avignon Festival.

This timeless play originally premiered at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in 1986 and then toured 4 continents and more than 25 cities worldwide, in its English and French versions, receiving accolades and awards, with both its original cast Armani and Papasian, and subsequent casts directed by its creators. The Los Angeles Times as one of many international media lauding the play noted that “…the indomitable spirit of a nation or race that has been physically dominated throughout history shines through this beautiful staging of translations of Armenian poetry through the ages…two dynamic performers who know how to blend their gorgeous voices and expertly trained bodies to create theatrical magic…”

While the Dec. 9 release of “Sojourn at Ararat” was timed to honor the 100th anniversary of the culmination of one of the worst crimes committed in the history of humanity, it is also a fortunate coincidence, as Nora Armani explains. “A few months ago, when going through some long unopened boxes from one of my many international moves, I came across a long-lost video master of ‘Sojourn at Ararat.’ Reminiscing about our play, it struck me how incredibly timely it still is—in fact today maybe even more than back then when the world was still a safer, saner place for most people. It also occurred to me what an amazing coincidence it was to hold this play in my hands again on the Centennial year of the Armenian Genocide in 2015. Small wonder therefore that Gerald and I spontaneously decided to re-master it and launch a CD/DVD version this year.”

Beginning in 1915, the Ottoman government systematically exterminated its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland, which lies within the territory constituting present-day Republic of Turkey. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at 1.5 million.

“As the granddaughter of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, the evocation of the memory of its victims is important to me. However, the work transcends the boundaries of the Armenian Genocide as the themes ‘Sojourn at Ararat’ is based on are universal and timely. It rings true now more than ever in view of what is going on in the world. The text is very powerful and prophetic. The work is uplifting and it inspires peace. It is against violence, against prejudice and hatred, and it talks about the trauma of exile, displacement, and uprootedness—topics of frightening actuality for so many people around the world today. ‘Sojourn at Ararat’ spreads a message of hope and solidarity far beyond the borders of Armenia,” Armani adds in her Production Notes.

Equally fascinating both for lovers of theater and of history, the CD and DVD are available and can be ordered here. Part of the proceeds from the sale will go to the Syrian refugee relief fund.

Born in Egypt to Armenian parents, Armani divides her time between New York (where she is based), Paris, and London. She is a truly timeless, cosmopolitan artist, fluent in English, French, Armenian, Arabic, Italian, and Turkish. After obtaining advanced degrees from the London School of Economics, the American University in Cairo, and UCLA, she decides to follow her heart, taking the road to the theatre. She plays Shakespeare, Beckett, Shaw and Guitry and has embarked on a breathtaking world tour with “Sojourn at Ararat.” In addition to her award-winning work on stage, on screen, and behind the camera, she is engaged in humanitarian work including activities around the protection of the planet and its climate, immigration, anti-violence, and the status of women. She is the founder and president of the internationally recognized “SR—Socially Relevant Film Festival New York.” For more information, visit http://www.noraarmani.net.

Born in Egypt into a musical and artistic family from Cairo and Alexandria, Papasian studied at the Armenian School in Cairo, then in Cyprus, at the Melkonian Educational Institute. He pursued his higher education at the Yerevan State Fine and Dramatic Arts Institute, from where he graduated with an MFA in acting and directing in 1976. In addition to his prestigious and award-winning career as an actor and director, he is a visiting lecturer, having taught at the University of Venice, the University of La Verne in California, and is invited as visiting lecturer to the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor in winter 2016. Papasian has published the restored original of “Arsace II,” the opera by Dikran Tchouhadjian, together with musicologist Haig Avakian, in addition to the English translation of the libretto of “Anoush,” the Armenian Opera by Armen Tigranyan, and numerous articles. He has recently adapted and staged the English and French versions of Tchouhadjian’s operetta “Garine” (“Leblebidji Hor Hor”) and staged it in Paris, Marseille, and London.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/gerald.papasian.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: ‘Sojourn at Ararat’ Released on CD and DVD

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