I’ll fess up. I was almost in tears. At least half the audience was, and a good chunk of the rest was sniffling. That’s how moving Red Dog Howls is. It’s been two weeks since I saw the play, and I’m still unnerved.
The audience was a good mix of Armenian and odar. The characters were an amalgam of people everyone reading this knows, right down to varying Genocide horror stories, a mixed marriage, and third generation angst and confusion over how to deal with such a calamity and the ongoing denial.
While some of my theatrically more informed friends found technical flaws, I can only rave about this play. It is a must-see. I understand the producers have hopes of getting it on stage in prominent venues. That can only help our cause. It starts now, in LA. My night, the theatre was packed. Let’s keep it that way until its run ends on June 13. It plays every night except Mondays at North Hollywood’s El Portal Theatre. The website is: http://www.reddoghowls.com/.
The story, set in the late 1980s, is of an Armenian 30-something, the grandmother he meets only upon his father’s death, and a torrid voyage of family-history discovery. All this goes on while his wife is seven months pregnant and he’s drinking too much. The first act seems to progress slowly, but pay close attention, since all the details and hints set up then come together in the gargantuan avalanche that strikes the viewer in the second act.
I don’t want to give away too much, but this play parallels Vahe Berberian’s Baron Garbis and the AYF Sardarabad Chapter’s The Internal Struggle of the Armenian in posing the question “What next, now that the last of the oldest guard is passing?” It’s interesting that the Armenian stage, three independent times over just four months, is honing a major community issue. Are we on the verge of a return to King Ardavazt’s time and the glory days of Armenian theatre?
Be certain not to miss this play.