NEW YORK — Zabelle, Nancy Kricorian’s award-winning novel about one woman’s survival of the Armenian Genocide, is being produced by Egg & Spoon as part of its third season. The piece was originally created and produced at Syracuse University’s Department of Drama in 2015. It was directed and adapted by Leslie Noble, a professor in the department, and devised by an ensemble of four performance students: Sarineh Garapetian, Julián Garnik, Catherine Giddings, and Lindsey Newton.
Those four artists will return to the piece almost five years later to launch Egg & Spoon’s 2019-2020 Season at Access Theater.
“The experience of adapting Ms. Kricorian’s powerful story of survival and directing a performance with these extraordinary young people was on that has stayed with me over the years,” says Leslie Noble. “The students are now teachers. The story continues.”
The idea to adapt Kricorian’s novel came from Sarineh Garapetian, who now serves as a producer, when she was a sophomore at Syracuse. Her intention was to perform it in April 2015 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. “When it got closer to the centennial, I felt that it was important to have a piece that would not blame but inform others, about a time in history that many of my classmates didn’t know about,” Garapetian states. “But working on the piece became about much more than that – it started a conversation. Audience members began sharing their own stories, in response to ours. And ultimately, this conversation is what made producing Zabelle feel that much more important.”
In the suburbs of Boston, Zabelle Chasbanian’s life is nearing an end. And as her present is fading, a distant and forgotten history is reemerging to the surface: her childhood as a refugee during the Armenian genocide. “Through Zabelle we humanize the one and a half million Armenians lost in the genocide,” said Adam Coy, direc’tor. “While growing up in a Jewish household, my mother instilled the phrase, ‘we must remember.’ We must remember to honor the many senselessly lost to persecution, and we must remember so that we don’t allow it to happen again.”
Zabelle runs November 14-17 at Access Theater in SoHo. Tickets can be purchased at www.eggandspoontheatre.org/zabelle.