YEREVAN — On April 15, Minister of Diaspora Hranoush Hakobyan met with special correspondent for the Armenian Mirror-Spectator Hagop Vartivarian, former editor of the Beirut-based Zartonk newspaper Baydzig Kalaydjian, and chairman of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group of New York Harout Chatmajian.
Hakobyan stressed how important it was for the Armenian people during crises that all structures and individuals in the diaspora remain determined to place the homeland above all else, with the readiness and will to aid and strengthen the defense army of Mountainous Karabagh. She said, “Our foremost issue is the security of Armenia and Artsakh. We must do everything to strengthen Armenia and the Armenian army.”
Vartivarian, who is also a leader of the Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group of New York, said that this group has come to Armenia for the performance of Berj Zeytountsian’s “All Rise, Court is in Session” during these troubled days in order to support the Armenian people. He declared: “The New York Megerdchian members have come to Armenia with a great spirit of patriotism to once again be renewed and grow strong through contact with our native soil and homeland – with Sardarabad, Dzidzernagapert and the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. They have come to Armenia, in order to renew their oath to serve the homeland, our people, culture and national inheritance. They are the heirs of immortals such as Vahan Tekeyan, Arshag Chobanian and Mihran Damadian, who were paragons of true patriotism throughout their lives. This is because patriotism does not recognize ideology, political doctrine or factional propaganda. We will return with renewed patriotism, to inspire the national feelings of New York Armenians with the vision of eternal Ararat.”
On April 16 the TCA Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group performed “All Rise, Court Is in Session” at Yerevan’s Hagop Baronian Musical Comedy Theater. Minister Hakobyan was in the audience, along with the rector of Yerevan’s State Pedagogical University Ruben Mirzakhanian, who is also president of the central board of Armenia’s TCA, and Berj Zeytuntsian, the author of the play being presented. There were many other government officials, artists and intellectuals in the audience. The guest performances of the theatrical group in Armenia were sponsored by Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan.
The theatrical group was founded in 1977 in New York and includes some 20 different plays in its repertoire. Its artistic director is Gerald Papasian. Among the actors in the present performance are Harout Barsoumian as Soghomon Tehlirian, Karnig Nercessian as Talaat Pasha, Hagop Vartivarian as Johannes Lepsius and Armenag Kroushian as Henry Morgenthau and Fayiz El Huseyn.
Although the theatrical group is not a professional one, the dedication of the actors and their knowledge of the significance of their roles raised the level of their performance to high levels. The presentation took place in a completely full hall and was met with great applause.
Deputy Minister of the Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Srapionyan presented Hakobyan’s greetings, which included the following words: “The presentation of this drama during these difficult days of trial, when the enemy again attempts to disturb our peace, creates a new meaning. It proves once more that the spirit of the Armenians is unwavering, just, resistant and zealous of protecting their rights. Thanks to the author of the play, our living classic Berj Zeytuntsian, to the director of the production, Gerald Papasian, and to the entire cast of the theatrical group for this wonderful presentation.” Srapionyan then read the edict of the minister of the diaspora on bestowing a certificate of thanks to the Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group of New York, and gave the certificate to the artistic director.
(Translated from the Armenian)