ORADELL, N.J. — The Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Mher Megerdichian Theater Group (MMTG) marked its 20th year with performances of Agatha Christie’s play “The Unexpected Guest” at Oradell Elementary School on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16.
The plot of the murder mystery, performed in Armenian with English subtitles, was filled with twists and turns as audiences were kept in suspense about the wealthy Richard Warwick’s murder. The performance brought together the theater group’s core actors, as well as newcomers, to deliver Christie’s play in the Armenian language.
“We wanted to expand our repertoire,” said director and actor Harout Chatmajian. “We have done a lot of different authors, but we never had an Agatha Christie production.”
The performance took place on the same weekend the MMTG premiered its first play, “Again Baronian,” directed by Tamar Hovanessian (wife of actor Mher Megerdichian) at the former AGBU Center in Saddle Brook, NJ, two decades ago.
When the group was first established, there were only nine actors and 5 committee members, according to Chatmajian. Over the course of 20 years, however, they have welcomed 50 members who performed around the country and in Armenia, staging works by William Saroyan, Hagop Baronian, William Shakespeare and Yervant Odian, among others.
“Our plays focus on Armenian authors,” said Chatmajian, acknowledging that the group at times looks to broaden its scope. “Armenian theater is over 2,000 years old, dating back to the Artashesian Kingdom, and it’s an Armenian tradition we want to keep alive.”