Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance


AZG Armenian Daily



3rd Annual Reading Series Receives Raves and Standing Ovations

In celebration of William Saroyan’s 100 anniversary, the Armenian
Dramatic Arts Alliance (ADAA) presented fully staged readings of
the three finalist plays of the inaugural $10,000 William Saroyan
Prize for Playwriting, administered by ADAA: FLESH AND TENDERNESS by
Kristen Lazarian, THE LIVING AND THE DEAD by Matthew Yaldezian, and
NADIA by Lilly Thomassian. The performances took place August 25 –
27 at the award-winning Fountain Theatre in Little Armenia to packed
houses and received glowing standing ovations.

Judged by an honorary jury, which included Obie Lifetime Achievement
Award recipient Mac Wellman, acclaimed playwright Leslie Ayvazian,
and founder of the Playwrights Project Deborah Salzer, the finalist
plays provide three uniquely different snapshots into the life of a
Diasporan Armenian. FLESH AND TENDERNESS told the story of Olivia,
a fourth generation Armenian American woman who comes to terms
with her family history which dramatically impacts those closest to
her. Recounting the early life, loves and writings of William Saroyan,
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD imagined Saroyan’s world at the verge of being
discovered. And as the finale to reading series, NADIA, which won the
William Saroyan Prize for Playwriting, is a heartbreaking story about
an Armenian family living in Iraq confronting the chaos of the war.

Bringing the playwrights’ words to life with heartbreak, humor
and hope was a powerhouse cast of ADAA artists including Karen
Kondazian (Master Class), Mary Apick (Beyond the Veil), Ken Davitian
(Borat), Magda Harout (Raising the Bar), Katie Boland (Adoration),
Anoush NeVart (General Hospital), Ludwig Manukian (The Shield),
Gregory Zarian (General Hospital), Anahid Shahrik (US Premiere of
Happy Endings Are Extra) and Marty Papazian (Jarhead). Directed
by acclaimed local directors, Debra DeLiso (FLESH AND TENDERNESS)
a theatre artist for over twenty-five years working as a film and
stage actor, choreographer/dancer, director, playwright, and teacher;
Michael Arabian (THE LIVING AND THE DEAD), a producer, director,
writer, actor and teacher who has directed numerous world, West Coast,
and Los Angeles premieres, winning over 50 awards; and Martin Bedoian
(NADIA), co-founder and artistic director of The Syzygy Theatre Group
in Los Angeles.

"The ADAA Reading Series was established to provide an opportunity
for new and emerging playwrights to workshop their play, hear their
words and eventually see it fully produced," said Anahid Shahrik,
ADAA Board of Trustees member and producer of the ADAA Reading
series. "It also provides an opportunity for professional working
actors and directors to work on new plays, build relationships and
create a community of artists working toward a similar goal."

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS