NEW YORK — The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA), was marked by an extraordinary theatrical presentation for Armenian theater enthusiasts in New York. On November 4, 2023, at Symphony Space in New York City, the group delivered a stellar performance of William Shakespeare’s renowned play, “Much Ado About Nothing,” under the masterful direction of the acclaimed Gerald Papasian, who was specially invited from Yerevan to helm the production.
Over a span of three months, the esteemed guest director diligently rehearsed this Shakespearean classic with a talented ensemble of 25 actors at the TCA center in New Jersey. Notably, alongside seasoned actors, young Armenian Americans took to the stage, captivating the audience with their portrayal of musical segments intertwined within the play. Varoujan Bedigian, a prominent intellectual from Beirut, skillfully translated the play into Armenian. This rendition was initially staged by the Vahram Papazian Theater Troupe of the Beirut Armenian Youth Organization, under the direction of Kirikor Satamian.
The performance featured Harout Chatmajian (Don Pedro), Harout Barsoumian (Benedick), Talar Zokian Tomlinson (Beatrice), Armenak Kurusyan (Claudio), Roy Bahian (Leonato), Talin Bahian (Hero), and Talin Karagolian (Dogberry) in pivotal roles. It’s also essential to acknowledge the technical crew behind this presentation: Stage Manager Hratch Zokian, Wardrobe Supervisors Marie Zokian and Vanig Janian, Stage Construction by Boghos Orangian and Natalie Bargamian, Lighting by Haig Gulian, Sound by Arpi Cankar, Music by Harout Barsoumian, English Translation by Ani Chatmajian, and Subtitles Operation by Elizabeth Akian.
This show marks the 24th production of the Megerdchian Theatrical Group, which over the years has performed under the guidance of various directors, including Tamar Hovannisian, Berge Fazlian, Krikor Satamian, Vartan Garniki, Gerald Papasian, Harout Chatmajian, and Gagik Karapetian. The theatrical group has highlighted its talent through guest performances in numerous cities, including the widely acclaimed staging of Berge Zeytountsian’s “All Rise, The Court is in Session,” a gripping play recounting the story of Soghomon Tehlirian, presented ten times. The group has received accolades in Yerevan and Gyumri, earning praise from local audiences and critics alike.
The sustained generosity of longtime patrons, the Kurdian family, and the unwavering support of dedicated friends such as Edward and Carmen Gulbenkian, Henri Dimidjian and Shoghag Hovannesian have been instrumental in covering the extensive expenses associated with this multifaceted theatrical endeavor.
Despite challenging geopolitical circumstances, including the Artsakh tragedy and the global attention on the Palestinian issue, a substantial audience fervently supported this performance. Their unwavering dedication to Armenian theater, showcased in the native language, was heartening. Notably, the presence of regional clergy, prominent intellectuals, and national figures further emphasized the significance of this cultural event.