Modern Armenian Drama

Modern Armenian Drama: An Anthology

NISHAN PARLAKIAN
S. PETER COWE
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 480
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/parl11630
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Modern Armenian Drama
    Book Description:

    Available in English for the first time, Modern Armenian Drama presents seven classic works from the Armenian stage. Spanning over a century (1871--1992), the plays explore such diverse themes science and religion, socioeconomic injustice, women's emancipation, and political reform through the medium of all the major European dramatic genres.

    Nishan Parlakian and S. Peter Cowe provide a comprehensive introduction to the history of Armenian drama, giving a valuable overview of its importance and development in Armenia, as well as a brief biography for each playwright. A preface to each play helps in placing the work within the context of historical and cultural issues of the time.

    Like the plays of Ibsen and O'Neill, the plays presented in this anthology are considered modern classics. They have an enduring quality and appeal to audiences who see them today. The editors have collected translations of the best examples of Armenian theater from its renaissance in the mid-nineteenth century to the present.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50266-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Performing Arts

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. ix-xxxiv)

    Armenian literature arguably has one of the longest and most varied dramatic traditions of Eurasia, though it has not been continuous. By its nature, drama, in contrast to poetry, is an urban art dependent on the institution of a theater and associated groups of actors, as well as the existence of a sizable and relatively sophisticated audience. For Armenian theater, these conditions were met by the cities of Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, and Tiflis, administrative center of the Russian viceroyalty of Transcaucasia. By the second half of the nineteenth century both possessed large Armenian communities with a burgeoning...

  5. GABRIEL SUNDUKIAN
    (pp. 1-4)
    E.D.M.

    Gabriel Sundukian was born in Tiflis, the administrative center of Russian Transcaucasia, on June 29, 1825. His father, Mkrtum, was a merchant who had settled there as a convenient hub on a trade axis between the North Caucasus and Iran. He had also traveled to different parts of Europe. Mrktum died when Gabriel was six, leaving him and his two siblings, Mikayel and Hripsime. Gabriel received his early training from his mother, before attending the private school of Hakob Shahan Jrpetian, later first incumbent of the professorship in the Armenian language at the Ecole Pratique des Langues Orientales Vivantes in...

  6. PEPO (PEPO, 1871)
    (pp. 5-60)
    GABRIEL SUNDUKIAN

    The scene is set in a multipurpose room in an old-fashioned house. Poorly furnished, it contains a china closet with shelves, one window, and three doors-right, left, and back center. At left, there is an immovable high takht,² covered with a rug and cushions. At corner right is a kitchen table with a colored table cloth and a clothesline hanging above it. On the china closet shelves are old-fashioned copper, wood, and clay pots, and various shaped wineglasses. A few chairs complete the room’s furnishings....

  7. HAGOP BARONIAN
    (pp. 61-64)
    Bedros Norehad

    Hagop Baronian died in 1891, in abject poverty, having laughed himself into financial failure, even while he gained immortality as a writer. He had been eminently successful in making life miserable for many prominent figures of his time with satire aimed at deflating incompetent leaders and mockery of immoderate societal mores.

    Born in 1843 into a poor family of Edirne (Adrianople), Baronian received primary and secondary training in Armenian schools. Thereafter he attended the local Greek school for a year, after which he was compelled to abandon formal education in order to find a job. He started work in a...

  8. HONORABLE BEGGARS (MEDZABADIW MURATSGANNER, 1880)
    (pp. 65-128)
    HAGOP BARONIAN

    A man is standing on the dock at Galata, having just gotten off the steamer from Trebizond. It is 1870 something. {The author can’t recall the exact year, or the day for that matter, thinking that it might be September 31, until he remembers that September has only thirty days. He does remember that} the man is stout and of medium height, and bundled in a long, heavy overcoat. {The author prides himself on the simple beginning of his tale, and on how resolutely he has resisted the temptation to make it more sensational by opening, for example, with a...

  9. ALEKSANDR SHIRVANZADE
    (pp. 129-131)
    N.P.

    In 1916 Maxim Gorki wrote an admiring letter to Shirvanzade, in which, with a touch of deference for a man ten years his senior, he says: “I heard your name for the first time in 1892 in Tiflis, and then in 1897 when I was in the Metekhi prison. You see! We’re old acquaintances.”¹

    Born on April 18, 1858, into a tailor’s family from the town of Shamakh in the province of Shirvan in what is now the Republic of Azerbaijan as Aleksandr Movsesian, he adopted the literary pseudonym Shirvanzade (son of Shirvan) to indicate his affinity with his native...

  10. FOR THE SAKE OF HONOR (PATUI HAMAR, 1904)
    (pp. 132-184)
    ALEKSANDR SHIRVANZADE

    A sitting room/office used by andreas and bagrat elizbarian set between the library and the bedrooms in the upper story of the house. It is a medium-sized room. At right, two windows look out onto the street. Between them is andreas’s desk. On it are papers and documents, a phone, and electric lamp. Near the desk at the wall a large arm chair; on the other side of the desk a plain chair. There are two doors in the upstage wall, one at center, the other at far left. In left wall, doors that lead to the living quarters. Near...

  11. LEWON SHANT
    (pp. 185-187)
    A.T.V.

    Lewon Shant was born in 1869 into the well-to-do Seghbosian family of Constantinople, which had become an increasingly significant center of Armenian culture. He was orphaned at age six, after which his paternal aunt became his legal guardian.

    His early schooling at the junior college in Üsküdar was in Western Armenian. After graduation in 1884, along with the future musicologist Komitas, he was one of eight pupils from Constantinople to be accepted into the Gevorgian Academy of Ejmiatsin, founded in 1869 by Catholicos Georg IV. During his seven-year stay there he was exposed to Eastern Armenian, affording him an unusual...

  12. ANCIENT GODS (HIN ASTUATSNER, 1908)
    (pp. 188-253)
    LEWON SHANT

    The summit of Sevan. A ruin amid the rocks. Twilight.

    (Father superior is seated on a rock, his chin resting on his hand, as he pensively looks down. From under a partially destroyed arch, the Man in White emerges. father superior is tall, has thick, graying hair, and is bareheaded. The Man in White is likewise bareheaded and has long black hair and a splendid black beard, braided in the Assyrian manner. For a moment they stare at each other in silence.)...

  13. DERENIK DEMIRCHYAN
    (pp. 254-256)
    A.G.S.

    Derenik Demirchyan, poet, novelist, translator, and playwright, was born on February 6, 1877, in Akhalkalaki, eponymous center of a region populated by Armenians since the Treaty of Adrianople (1829), in what is now southern Georgia. In 1892 he graduated from the Ardahan School and was accepted at the Gevorgian Academy in Ejmiatsin, where he extended his knowledge of literature beyond the Armenian, by reading classics of world literature such as Lermontov, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Goethe, Heine, Byron, and, of course, Shakespeare. The following year marked his literary debut with the appearance of his poem Apagan [The future] in the periodical Taraz...

  14. NAZAR THE BRAVE A FOLK TALE-COMEDY IN FIVE ACTS FOR CHILDLIKE ADULTS AND ADULTLIKE CHILDREN (KAJ NAZAR, 1923)
    (pp. 257-328)
    DERENIK DEMIRCHYAN

    Nazar the brave, at home.

    The scene is set in the yard of his home. At left is a hut with a barn, with window and door. Facing it is the yard fence which, extending to the right, bends forward, and the yard gate is precisely at that corner. The wall then comes forward and ends where a small square forms to the right of it. A door opens from the left corner of the hut toward the rear. Behind the fence and extending to the right of it is a forest. Motley items of clothing are hung out between...

  15. PERCH ZEYTUNTSYAN
    (pp. 329-331)
    S.P.C.

    Perch Zeytuntsyan was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1938. Ten years later, he moved with his parents to Soviet Armenia at a time of severe economic hardship as the country struggled to come to terms with the aftermath of World War II. While still at the Aghayan School in Erevan, Zeytuntsyan published his first short story Nvere [The gift] in 1953. Three years later, while studying at the Pyatigorsk Pedagogical Institute for Foreign Languages, his first collection Nra arajin enkere [His first companion] appeared to critical acclaim, winning second prize at the Soviet Youth Festival. He also produced a series...

  16. UNFINISHED MONOLOGUE A DRAMA IN TWO ACTS (ANAVART MENAKHOSUTYUN, 1981)
    (pp. 332-387)
    PERCH ZEYTUNTSYAN
  17. ANAHIT AGHASARYAN
    (pp. 388-389)
    S.P.C.

    Anahit Aghasaryan was born in Erevan on August 28, 1959. Thereafter, till the age of eight, she lived with her grandparents in a small village in the autonomous region of Nagorno Karabagh. Growing up in such an idyllic natural environment left a lasting impression on her. Back in Erevan with her parents, she began her formal schooling. However, she struggled under the regimentation of both environments until finally she demonstrated her feisty independence by running away from home.

    Nevertheless, she graduated from school with a gold medal in 1977 and took the entry examination for the faculty of physics and...

  18. MADMEN OF THE WORLD, UNITE! (KHELAGARNERE BOLOR ERKRNERI MIATSEK, 1992)
    (pp. 390-444)
    ANAHIT AGHASARYAN

    Presidential Election Press Conference

    The scene is set in a medium-sized conference room. Men in black suits check the wings, under the podium, bring in a new carafe of water, remove the old water, and test the new. A photographer stands at the ready with his camera. The room is full of journalists and government officials. The atmosphere is solemn and strained. Everyone waits in silence. aramyan rushes in late and takes his place next to presidential contender hasratyan. Stony silence. aramyan wipes the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, and then observes the proceedings attentively....

  19. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 445-448)
  20. TABLE OF TRANSLITERATION
    (pp. 449-450)