ENCINO—The arts in schools have always been underestimated. Outside the realm of academics, the focus seems to be heavily placed on sports or extracurricular activities that polish résumés for soon to be graduates. What if by narrowing the interests and outlets students have, we’re preventing them from widening their perspectives, insights, and restricting the tools to evolve their critical thinking skills? When students are provided with limited choices on what their interests could be, we’re containing them into smaller vessels, but what happens when the possibilities are endless? What happens when we provide our students new and different outlets?
Levon Shant Demirjian began adapting Vahe Berberian’s play The Pink Elephant for Holy Martyrs Ferrahian’s High School students. With the support of Ferrahian’s principle, Sossi Shanlian, the production soon received a green light and the initiative to establish Ferrahian’s first Theatrical Production was underway.
What Levon, now as director, and the faculty couldn’t predict was the discipline and dedication a group of students would showcase over the coarse of the months ahead.
The cast includes a mix of seniors, juniors, and sophmores. Nareg Kuyumjian, who plays the lead character Simon, graduated this past June and has still devoted his time to rehearsals. Marinor Balouzian (Nina), Alex Kassamanian (Roupen), Hagop Balekhyan (Apo), and Sevoulig Bastilian (Vatche) have all proven their commitment to not only sacrificing their free time over their summer vacation, but to mastering a script in Armenian. The cast also includes Sarkis Semerjian (Tsolak) and Puzant Berberian (Khoren) who have substantiated the support of the Armenian community through their involvement in the production.
The play takes place in the 1980’s during the Lebanese Civil War as a group of Armenian actors rehearse for a play scheduled to open the following day. Amidst the turmoil of the outside world that threatens their existence, the actors face an equally dire obstacle of upholding the Armenian language.
This multi-dimensional play highlights both the struggles young Armenians faced forty years ago in Lebanon and the responsibility they face today. Let us continue encouraging our youth and support their efforts of embracing our culture, language, and praise the artists who bare the weight of this crucial role.
The Pink Elephant will be performed August 11, 12, and 13 at the ARTN Theatre – 4407 San Fernando Rd. Glendale, CA 91402. The production features music written by Ara Dabandjian as well as Stage Design and Artwork created by Sevag Mahserejian.
The Opening Night Gala Premiere – Friday night 7:30 – will provide an Open Bar and Catering Sponsored by Falafel Arax. The following performances will take place Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.itsmyseat.com/pinkelephant.