Kalinoski Returns to Subject of Armenian Genocide for New Play, A Crooked Man

News   Kalinoski Returns to Subject of Armenian Genocide for New Play, A Crooked Man Richard Kalinoski, whose award-winning drama about survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide, Beast on the Moon, was an American regional theatre hit in the last decade, returns to that historical tragedy with his new drama.
Richard Kalinoski
Richard Kalinoski Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Alianak Theatre Productions (ATP) will present the world premiere of Kalinoski's A Crooked Man, directed by and starring Hrant Alianak, Feb. 20-March 2 at The Theatre Centre in Toronto. Opening is Feb. 22.

American playwright Kalinoski's earlier play was one of the most-produced plays in U.S. regional theatres, won the Prix Moliere for Best Play in Paris in 2001, ran Off-Broadway for 15 weeks in 2005, and made its Canadian premiere (produced by ATP) in 1997.

ATP describes A Crooked Man this way: "Throughout his life, the 88-year-old Hagop, now living in the United States, has been tormented by nightmares stemming from the horrors he witnessed as a child during the Armenian genocide, including his family's murder. His nightmares extend to his own act of defiance when, as a young man in Germany, he assassinated the Turkish governor responsible for perpetrating the massacres in his village. When his reporter grandson interviews him for what is to be an innocuous magazine article, the old man finally begins to confront his demons and reveals not only the awful details of his past, but, for the very first time ever, a terrible secret that has consumed his whole life."

The current Turkish government still officially denies that Armenians were killed at the hands of the then-ruling Ottoman Empire; the government does not use the word "genocide." Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed, according to a low estimate.

Inspired by a true story, A Crooked Man "offers no easy answers to the issues of guilt and innocence, murderer or hero." Like Beast on the Moon, the play is said to be infused with surprising humor and familial warmth. For the first time in Canada, an all-Armenian professional cast performs in an Armenian-themed play.

As well as producing and directing A Crooked Man, Alianak (known for film and TV roles) portrays the octagenarian Hagop. The Dora-nominated Araxi Arslanian (ATP's Rogues of Urfa, Buddies in Bad Times' upcoming Who's Your Dada?) plays Hagop's daughter. Garen Boyajian (Atom Egoyan's "Ararat," and the Family Channel's "Radio Free Roscoe") portrays his grandson. Carlo Essagian and Michael Kazarian round out the cast.

The creative team includes set and lighting designer DroegeDesigns, sound designers Terry Crack and Joe Mancuso, and costume designer Anne Dixon. Sharon DiGenova is the stage manager.

The Theatre Centre is located at 1087 Queen Street West (entrance on Dovercourt), Toronto.

For tickets visit www.artsboxoffice.ca or call (416) 504-7529.

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Alianak Theatre Productions earned three Dora Awards, including Outstanding Production for The Walls of Africa that Alianak also wrote and directed. ATP is known for introducing professional productions of plays about Armenians into the Canadian theatre vernacular. As well as Beast on the Moon, it has presented Robert Astle's The Hats of Mr. Zenobe, Adam Nashman's Crimes and Araxi Arslanian's Rogues of Urfa. ATP productions have received a total of 23 Dora nominations for theatrical excellence in various categories. All of ATP's Armenian-themed ventures are co-produced by Hrant Alianak and Kaloust Babian.