Teesri Duniya Theatre, in collaboration with the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Canada (AGCCC), will present Rahul Varma’s State of Denial from October 8-25 at Segal Centre Studio, reports.
This moving and unsettling play, directed by Liz Valdez, highlights the urgent need to counter denials of gendered violence, ethnic cleansing and racial rivalry. Continuing their mandate to encourage dialogue, the company will hold a talkback with invited guests after each matinee performance.
Set in contemporary Canada and Turkey of 1915, State of Denial links the Turkish-denied Armenian genocide of 1915 with the 1995 genocide in Rwanda, connecting them through the Canadian diaspora experience. When Odette, a Rwandan-born Canadian filmmaker, travels to Turkey to investigate stories of genocide and hidden identity, she interviews Sahana, an elderly and respected Muslim woman who has devoted her life to assisting Armenian survivors. On her deathbed, Sahana confesses a chilling secret that challenges a long-standing state of denial that Odette promises to make public at any personal cost.
Director Liz Valdez finds the work incredibly important in this era when we believe we are so aware and well-informed, yet there are devastating historical events that most people don’t know anything about.
For Mher Karakachian, Chairman of AGCCC, denial has been rightly considered as the last phase of the crime of genocide, “Survivors and scholars alike have repeatedly reminded us that that forgetting or denying such a monstrous crime kills the victims twice. State of Denial vividly portrays this tragic fact and in the most creative ways, brings the ongoing ploys of denialism under the spotlight. On the somber occasion of the centennial of the Armenian genocide, Varma’s play lights a beacon to confront the darkness that still looms in many corners of the globe.”
Liana Bdéwi is an Armenian actor who plays Sinam. She grew up learning about the genocide, “It’s been ingrained in me since I was a kid and is a topic that is still so sensitive, despite the 100 year anniversary this year. I’m excited to have the opportunity to represent my heritage and community in an impactful and artistic way.”