Azad Pem members taking a bow

Tekeyan’s New Azad Pem Theater Group Stages ‘Khoskeh Mechernis’ Play to Large Audiences in Pasadena

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PASADENA, Calif. — The Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) organized a staging of Vatche Adrouni’s “Khoskeh Mechernis” by the Azad Pem Theater Group on Friday and Saturday nights, March 22 and 23. The performances took place at the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Performing Art Center in Pasadena, and was followed on March 23 by a gala, which was held in the Center’s quad.

Azad Pem committee members and actors

In attendance were more than 350 community members, as well as members of the Armenian theater community, including Krikor Satamian and Vahe Berberian — several of whom were former members of the AGBU Vahram Papazian Theater Group in Beirut, Lebanon.

A scene from the play

In her welcoming remarks, Lora Kouyoumjian, chairman of Azad Pem, spoke on the cultural significance of the TCA and its initiatives, specifically the new theater group. The weekend marked Azad Pem’s first-ever performance, which proved to be a success with nearly 450 attendees on opening night.

A scene from the play

Following Kouyoumjian’s remarks, Mayda Kuredjian, executive secretary of the TCA Western United States and Canada, took to the podium to welcome attendees. Kuredjian highlighted the importance of Armenian theater, while adding that engaging with the youth and encouraging them to participate is vital to sustaining such initiatives.

A scene from “Khoskeh Mechernis”

Directed by Vartan Meguerditchian, who plays the role of Boghos, “Khoskeh Mechernis” [Between Us, or Off the Record] centers on Nina and Setrag, a young couple who yearn to be together, but Nina’s parents disapprove. The play explores powerful themes, such as love, familial conflict, and friendship. Although Meguerditchian is known for directing several plays in Lebanon, the performance is the first he has directed in Los Angeles.

A scene from “Khoskeh Mechnernis”

“Vartan Megerditchian is an incredibly gifted actor who, over the years, has become a prominent member of the Lebanese-Armenian theater community. After performing in more than 20 plays, and directing a series of productions, this ‘crazy’ and charming actor has left an indelible mark on Lebanese Armenian modern theater,” said playwright Vatche Adrouni.

Another scene

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“Khoskeh Mechernis” features Vartan Meguerditchian, Narine Avakian, Linda Gergerian-Meguerditchian, Arpi Samuelian, Sossy Varjabedian, Aram Mouradyan, Roupen Harmandian, Henry Abadjian, Arthur Abousefian, and Haig Ourishian. Several of the performers are veteran actors who have participated in Armenian theatre groups in the US, Lebanon or Canada.

Later, attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception of delicacies and drinks in the AGBU Performing Arts Center quad, while renowned artist Razmig Khatchigian performed on the piano.

The final staging of “Khoskeh Mechernis” at AGBU will take place on Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. at the AGBU Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at agbupac.net online.

Azad Pem is also set to perform “Khoskeh Mechernis” on May 5, at 4:30 p.m. at St. Paul Armenian church, 3767 N First St, Fresno, California.

The Azad Pem theater group was founded by the Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Pasadena-Glendale Chapter in 2023 with the aim of inspiring joy, engaging with the community, and helping to foster a love and appreciation for theater in Armenian youth. Follow Azad Pem on Instagram and Facebook to learn more.

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