WASHINGTON—For many Armenian parents, it’s a dream come true when their child finds an Armenian spouse. But as soon as the wedding planning commences, that’s when the problems—and the comedy—begin.
The sequel to the original hit play, “Where Is Your Groom?” (“Pesad Oor Eh”) will perform for the Washington D.C. Armenian community on March 10 in an event hosted by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan.
The story picks up as the parents of newly engaged couple Lara and Ari come together to celebrate the anticipated union. But before the soorj (coffee) is even served, the initial pleasantries quickly diminish as debates launch over what church the service will take place in, who will be the best man, and if Adiss or Manuel will sing at the reception. To make matters even more frustrating for Lara, her fiance goes missing, past suitors show up, and a matchmaker is hired to help her brother find a wife.
The Knights and Daughters of Vartan say the modern, humorous story will resonate with audiences through laughter while also giving them a chance to examine the more serious issues of cultural preservation in the Armenian Diaspora. Proceeds from the event will also benefit schoolteachers in Yerevan.
“I feel it’s important to organize events which enrich our cultural heritage,” said Araxie Vann, Matron of the Daughters of Vartan. “Bringing this theater group to the Washington D.C. Armenian community will help young Diasporans relate the subject matter to their own lives, while at the same time looking at the situation from the outside and finding humor in it.”
The play has struck a chord not only with audiences during its run, most recently at New York City’s Miller Theatre and the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown, Mass., but also for the 20-person cast and crew. Hailing from all backgrounds in the New York metro area, the young professionals in the production have also deeply connected with the play and its characters.
Playing the role of the family matriarch Siroun, Nairi Hartounian said she was reminded of the strong women she was surrounded by while growing up, who served as an inspiration when she assumed the character of the overbearing yet compassionate mother and wife.
“We’ve had three, sometimes four generations in the audience, and they’ve all been able to identify with what they see on stage,” said Hartounian, a graduate student at New York University studying public relations and corporate communications. “This is a universal story and we all find pieces within ourselves through all of the layered characters.”
The D.C. performance will serve as a fundraiser to provide assistance to the teachers and workers of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan School in Armenia’s capital city. A special committee has been formed under the chairmanship of former Matron Doris George.
“Proceeds will be disbursed to the schoolteachers in order to encourage them to stay and teach in Armenia because these children are the future of the country and they are in need of education,” said Vann. “The purpose of this school is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to allow them to step into the real world and face the future challenges in Armenia.”
“Our group is committed to entertaining and stimulating dialogue within our Armenian community, but also to serve as a positive representative of our culture,” said writer and director Taleen Babayan. “We are proud to perform in the greater Washington D.C. area for the Knights and Daughters of Vartan and support the education of our youngsters in our homeland.”
“Where Is Your Groom (Pesad Oor Eh)? Part II” will take place on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at the Richard J. Ernst Cultural Center, in Annandale, Va. For tickets by credit card, please visit paypal.me/daughtersofvartanus or call Takuhi at 301-219-4041.