From left: Linda Tarzian, Arlene Jessourian, Hilda Hartounian, Nadya Boyadjian. Back (l-r) Nairi Hartounian and Nanor Hartounian (Photo credit: Serpouhi Vartivarian)

TCA Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group Celebrates with Evening of Music


TENAFLY, N.J. — The Tekeyan Cultural Association’s ‎ Mher Megerdchian Theater Group held its annual holiday gala, featuring singer Elie Berberian, on Saturday, December 9, at St. Thomas Armenian Church.

Celebrating a successful year, the group welcomed more than 250 people who attended the yearly concert and fundraiser that benefits the theater group’s productions.

“Elie Berberian proved himself to be one of the best singers in the Diaspora,” said Harout Chatmajian, director and chairman of the Mher Megerdichian Theater Group. “He has a big repertoire and created a very good atmosphere by putting his all into his performances.”

The group’s accomplishments over the past year included a well-received performance of the Genocide-themed “All Rise” (Tadaran Vodkee) for the Detroit Armenian community. A nationalistic play that can be performed for all Diasporan communities, the theater group plans to continue staging “All Rise” around the world.

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New productions that will hit the stage include Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “The Unexpected Guest,” (Angoch Hyruh) that will be presented in April 2018 in New Jersey. The theater group’s popular “Comedy Club” will also take place next spring.

The upcoming year will be a special one for the Mher Megerdichian Theater Group because they will be celebrating the troupe’s 20-year milestone in 2018.

“Over the course of two decades, we have performed 30 different plays,” said Chatmajian, whose group comprises 80 actors. “We have never skipped a year and each year we present a new play.”

Ani Chatmajian, Talar Sesetyan Sarafian and Marie Zokian (Photo credit: Serpouhi Vartivarian)

The mission of the theater group over the past two decades has been to promote the Armenian culture in the Diaspora and reflect on its on rich historic past.

“Armenian theater started over 2,000 years ago,” said Chatmajian. “We have to keep the Armenian theatrical tradition here in the Diaspora, which brings people together and in turn creates its own community.”

Chatmajian likens the theater group to a school, where actors learn about the Armenian culture, history and language while studying plays by revered playwrights such as Hagop Baronian and William Saroyan. Citing actor, writer and director Krikor Satamian as his mentor, Chatmajian said he hopes to do the same for the actors in his theater troupe and pass on his knowledge and experience so the Armenian theatrical tradition can continue well into the future.

“The success and longevity of the Mher Megerdichian Theater Group is because we play different authors and we work with various directors, from Tamar Megerdichian to Krikor Satamian to Berj Fazlian to Gerard Papazian,” said Chatmajian.

The Mher Megerdichian Theater Group was founded 19 years ago and its board is now comprised of Marie Zokian as vice-chair, Ani Chatmajian as treasurer and Talar Sesetyan Sarafian as secretary, who all work together with their members to present plays in the Armenian language for the diaspora.

“Our theater troupe has always been close to our people’s hearts,” said Hagop Vartivarian, honorary chair of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of Greater New York. “The theater itself is a school, and, in our case, it is a school far from the homeland that keeps the Armenian language and literature alive.”

Vartivarian noted the well-known directors who have worked with the theater group and who injected a new spirit and enthusiasm into their productions. “I have the utmost respect to our directors, actors and technical crew who believe in our theater group’s mission.”

Supported by the Tekeyan Cultural Association, the two groups work hand in hand to uplift the Armenian diaspora through the arts.

“The holiday gala benefiting Tekeyan’s theater group was another wonderful opportunity to bring our community together and celebrate our culture,” said Hilda Hartounian, chair of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of Greater New York. “We are proud of the TCA’s cultural contributions, in our symbolic 70th year, and look forward to continuing to preserve our heritage.”

— Taleen Babayan



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