The Vista Players have recently relocated from Northern California to Los Angeles and ‘Happy Armenians’, a truly interesting, unusual and entertaining play is a great beginning for their foray into the local NoHo theatre scene.
The story centers around Levon, a teacher from Los Angeles who is mysteriously transported to an alternate version of history where Armenia has been the dominant world empire for over 600 years.
The Armenian Empire has colonized Europe, and Africa manages the global economy. In this parallel world, Levon is the only heir to the Armenian Empire. We discover that it is the current king himself who has brought Levon to his castle, with the help of the beautiful scientist Siran, while he prepares for his own imminent death.
This is hardly your usual fish out of water tale, however. It has a soulful purpose that harkens back to a time before the Armenian Genocide, when Armenia was a nation of possibility and hope and a cradle of Christianity.
Full of clever observations, amusing twists and turns and at its heart a love story, Happy Armenians has the retro feel of an original Star Trek storyline. The characters are richly drawn and purposefully acted and the original score by Ara Dabandjian adds a depth of emotion and meaning to every scene.
The playwright/director Aram Kouyoumdjian has taken a precious subject, and found a way to dramatize the sadness and the loss without tearing our hearts out.
It is a wish for what should have been, and a charming story of hope.
I recommend “Happy Armenians” at The NoHo Arts Center. 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601.
The play runs from October 2nd to October 25th on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.
Patrick - Tavis L. Baker
King - Gregory DePetro
Levon - Daniel Hubbard
Queen - Jade Hykush
Siran - Heather Lynn Smith.
Set/costume deisgns - Maro Parian.
Lighting design - Henrik Mansourian.
Stage manager - Armineh Hovanesian.
Original music - Ara Dabandjian.