The TCA Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group of NY in Detroit, with leaders of the Detroit Armenian community

TCA Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group Presents ‘All Rise, Court Is in Session’ in Detroit

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SOUTHFIELD, M.I. – On October 8, 25 members of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group came to Laurence Technological University in Southfield from New York to perform Berj Zeytuntsian’s “All Rise, Court Is in Session” upon the invitation of the Detroit chapter of TCA. This was the third premiere of the play, after New York, Yerevan and Gyumri.

The play presents the trial of Soghomon Tehlirian in Berlin in 1921. Tehlirian had shot and killed Talat Pasha, one of the chief architects of the Armenian Genocide. The play was directed by Parisian Gerald Papasian. As he was in Yerevan, by special arrangement Harout Chatmajian in his absence supervised the preparations for the play and the technical work.

Harout Barsoumian once again proved his talents in the role of Soghomon. The role of Talat previously was performed by Karnig Nercessian, one of the founders of the acting company, but his untimely death led Harout Takvorian, an experienced and talented actor in his own right, to take over the role.

The “three spirits”—Arpi Cankar, Talin Bahian and Talar Zokian—connected the historical events of the play. Elizabeth Akian as Mrs. Dittmann, Talin Karagolian as Talat’s wife, and the members of the court—Harout Chatmajian, Shemavon Atamian, Missak Boghosian and Ared Spenjian—are worthy of mention, as are Hacik Sariminasyan as the priest, 93-year-old Van native Ohannes Kartalyan as Dr. Nazim Bey, Roy Bahian as Dr. Martin Niepage and Hasan Fehmi, Armenag Kurusyan as Henry Morgenthau and Fayez El Huseyin, Ashod Spendjian as Otto Liman von Sanders, and Hagop Vartivarian as Dr. Johannes Lepsius.

Marie Zokian and Helen Minasyan worked behind the scenes as part of the technical crew, with Hrach Zokian in charge of sound, Hayg Gulian for video and lights, and Onelia Spendjian as English subtitles operator. Diana and Hagop Alexanian from the TCA Detroit chapter executive were responsible for props and furniture.

The audience included priests from various denominations, including Fr. Aren Jebejian of St. John Armenian Church, as well as representatives of various Armenian political parties. 

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The night prior to the performance, a special dinner was hosted in the latter church in honor of the visiting actors. There, TCA Central Board president Edmond Y. Azadian, TCA Detroit chapter chair Diana Alexanian, and Megerdchian Theatrical Group chairman Harout Chatmajian spoke, and later the visitors visited the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum, where Azadian provided extensive information about the Armenian exhibits.

— H. V.