NEW YORK–The play “Where Is Your Groom? II” (“Pesad Oor Eh II”), sent waves of laughter throughout the Miller Theater at Columbia University on March 26, where more than 500 guests gathered to enjoy the sequel to the funny saga.
The comical and contemporary play by Taleen Babayan appealed to all generations and highlighted themes common in today’s Diasporan culture, including balancing assimilation and nationalism, and preserving one’s heritage and language in a melting-pot society.
The 20-member cast and crew—all Diasporan-Armenians who have a love for Armenian culture and the arts—took to the stage to return to their beloved roles or bring to life vibrant new ones.
“So many aspects about participating in this play were incredible,” said Raele Sabounjian, a New York City-based marketing director who played the lead role of Lara, a first generation Armenian-American. “Pursuing a new passion for acting, bringing a talented writer’s words to life, and proudly representing my heritage made this experience a phenomenal one.”
While the original play revolved around an Armenian-American family’s quest to find their daughter a suitable partner, the sequel focuses on the overbearing nature of Armenian parents, eager to plan a wedding their own way. The play satirizes traditional elements of the Armenian family and cultural life and everyone in the audience found the story appealing, meaningful, and comical.
“I laughed so much I had tears running down my eyes,” said audience member Ruby Gulian. “I truly enjoyed the performance and I congratulate all of the young Armenians involved on stage and in the audience.”
“My entire family enjoyed the dynamic story-line and spot-on cast,” said guest Raffi Salbashian. “We need more professional productions like this in our community.”
An added benefit to staging the play performance was the friendships and bonds formed off-stage over the course of a seven-month rehearsal process. Though all Armenian, many in the group had not met one another before and enjoyed the opportunity to expand their networks even further.
“It was a thrill to be in the company of such dedicated talents serving the Armenian-American community,” said Raffie Bagrevandian, a real-estate professional from Astoria who played the role of Russian-Armenian businessman Sergei. “The positive support received from the multi-cultural audience was invigorating and I’m looking forward to collaborating with this magnetic group once again.”
“What was important to me, aside from making people laugh, was to stir feeling in the audience,” said writer Taleen Babayan. “I wanted this story and these characters to remain with everyone even after the laughter subsided.”