NEW YORK — The New York-New Jersey area art and stage lovers were treated to a very special performance dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Two consecutive performances took place on Friday, June 12 in New Jersey and on Sunday, June 21 in Queens Theater in the Park.
The adaptation of the play was based on a novel You Rejoice My Heart by a Turkish writer Kemal Yalçin. The novel tells the seldom-discussed story of Armenian remnants; the so-called “secret or hidden Armenians,” whose descendants still live in the provinces of Turkey and elsewhere today.
The play was adapted and directed by the veteran of Armenian Theater, renowned actress of Armenian Stage Film and Television and executive producer of a weekly Armenian television program- Voice of Armenians TVNY: Kariné Kocharyan.
“You Rejoice My Heart” opens with Mr. Yalçin’s personal and emotional apology, saying: “My dear Armenian friend, the greatest pain of humanity this century, the mark of black soot on the forehead of history, is the Armenian Genocide! I bow down to the memory of all the Armenians who were killed during those years. I accept your pain as my pain. As a Turkish writer, I speak for myself and the entire world when I ask for your forgiveness. The shame of this great disaster is stamped on the forehead of humanity, and the planners, projectors and perpetrators will be cursed. When justice is finally implemented, when our great pain subsides and when we urge the world finally to ensure this injustice will never happen again, I give my heart to you and my soul will rejoice with you!”
The story then follows as Mr. Yalçin, who through the guidance of his teacher Meliné, embarks on a project to seek out Armenians living in Turkey as Muslims or Turks. Meline was Yalcin’s teacher in Germany as Yalcin and many other Turkish teachers were going through special training to follow the German school’s curriculum for German citizens of Turkish descent. At first some of the Turkish teachers were uncomfortable with a teacher of Armenian descent who was very well versed in Turkish and German- to teach them. Yalcin was one of the few who wanted to know more about Meliné and her history.