Semerciyan Awarded Saroyan Prize for Playwriting

LOS ANGELES—Honoring the work of noted Armenian American author and playwright William Saroyan, the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance (ADAA) on Sept. 30 presented its $10,000 Second Biennial William Saroyan Prize for Playwriting Award at the Armenian Church Western Diocese Headquarters in Burbank, Calif.

Finalists for ADAA's Second Biennial $10,000 William Saroyan Prize for Playwriting: (L to R): Silva Semerciyan ("Another Man's Son); Johnna Adams ("Hripsime") and Sevan Kaloustian Greene ("Forgotten Bread").

The grand prizewinner was “Another Man’s Son” by London playwright Silva Semerciyan. Her play concerns an Armenian family forced to confront the hidden consequences of genocide. Set in 1958 Beirut, the play explores the themes of love, loyalty, and filial duty.

Selection was by an honorary jury of theater luminaries including Mark Ravenhill, Oskar Eustis, and Curt Columbus.

Emcee was radio personality Ana Kasparian, the producer and co-host of “The Young Turks” show on XM Satellite Radio. 

The other finalist plays were “Forgotten Bread,” by New York playwright/actor Sevan Kaloustian Greene, and “Hripsime,” by New York playwright Johnna Adams.

Marty Papazian directed scenes from the plays, read by actors Adriana Sevahn Nichols, Hrach Titizian, Ludwig Manukian, Gregory Zarian, Manuel Kanian, Christine Kludjian, Shushig Der Stepanian, Shaun Duke, Anne Bedian, and Arthur Darbinyan. Anahid Shahrik produced the readings.

Mshak Ghazarian from the office of Council member Paul Krekorian and Christina Aghakhanian from the office of Assembly member Mike Gatto presented special recognitions to the three finalists and to ADAA.

In addition, ADAA’s annual Armenian Star Award was announced and presented to Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, for his extraordinary support of Armenian artists.

“This was a great occasion,” said playwright and ADAA Board member Lisa Kirazian, the administrator of the prize. “All three finalists crafted compelling plays, and it was exciting to hear them directed and read by such talented actors.”

The ADAA’s William Saroyan Prize for Playwriting for plays on Armenian themes honors the work of author and playwright William Saroyan (“The Time of Your Life,” “The Human Comedy”). It is made possible by a grant from the William Saroyan Foundation, led by Haig Mardikian, who traveled from San Francisco to present the award.

Founded by Bianca Bagatourian in 2005, ADAA projects the Armenian voice on the world stage via the arts of theater and film, hosting two $10,000 writing contests, play readings, the Boston Armenian Film Festival, networking events, and the world’s top Armenian performing arts website,

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