Beast on the Moon, Hit Play About Armenian Survivors, To Make NYC Debut in 2005
By Kenneth Jones
May 25 2004
Beast on the Moon, the well-reviewed regional and international play
about an Armenian couple forging a romance in America while being
haunted by the 1915 genocide that rocked their country, will get its
Off Broadway debut in spring 2005.
American playwright Richard Kalinoski’s play debuted in 1995 at
the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of
Louisville. The intimate four-actor show later blossomed in American
regional theatres, from Los Angeles to Boston, and has since appeared
in 15 different countries winning over 30 awards (including five
Moliere Awards in Paris and five Ace Awards in Buenos Aires, taking
the award for Best Play in both cities).
Larry Moss, who directed The Syringa Tree to North American success,
will direct Beast on the Moon in New York City. Casting is ongoing.
Playwright Kalinoski is a college professor at the University of
Wisconsin, Osh Kosh, where he teaches in the Theatre Arts department.
David Grillo, an actor who appeared in a 1999 Boston production of
the play, is to be lead producer for the commercial Off-Broadway
stand. Roy Gabay will serve as general manager.
The title, Beast on the Moon, refers to an ominous lunar eclipse.
“So much appeals to me about Beast that it is hard to find a
place to begin,” producer Grillo told Playbill On Line. “It is
an extraordinarily challenging drama with a surprising number of
well-earned laughs. The play takes its audiences through an emotional
cataclysm and delivers them, at its finish, to joyful redemption.
I don’t like plays that ask me to jump through emotional hoops and
then leave me beaten up by the side of the road. Beast is redemptive.
The journey is hard, but one for which the audience is enormously
grateful. Also very important for me right now is that Beast on the
Moon is a play about Muslim/Christian relations that stresses healing.”
Beast on the Moon is a four-actor romance about two survivors –
Aram and Seta, a young man and his mail order bride – who settle
in Milwaukee between the World Wars (spanning 12 years) and seek to
start a family in the wake of the genocide of their past. They end
up taking an orphan under their wing. A narrator provides context.
The play received the 1996 Osborn Award from the American Theatre
Critics Association, recognizing an emerging playwright.
Rehearsals begin in January 2005 toward previews in February and a
March opening. A theatre has not been announced.
Producer Grillo has two degrees from the University of California at
Berkeley, in Economics and Dramatic Arts, plus a masters in fine arts
in acting from the Yale School of Drama.
In 2003, Grillo acquired the rights to produce the play in New York,
after 10 months of negotiations. This is the first time the
playwright has granted the New York rights.