Hrant Alianak steps onstage for the first time in 15 years and ages several decades in the process.
No, it’s not stage fright. Alianak plays 88-year-old Hagop in The Crooked Man, Richard Kalinoski’s play about an Armenian who, interviewed by his reporter grandson, relives the horrors of the 1915 Armenian genocide by the Turks. Based on the true story of a man who assassinated a Turkish leader, the work deals with themes of revenge, guilt and secrets.
Director Alianak is proud to have assembled an entirely Armenian cast for the production. “Initially, I tried to find someone the right age to play Hagop, but everyone I contacted worried about memory problems.
“Then I realized that it was wrong to cast an anglo in the part, because the play’s Armenian passion just wouldn’t come across, regardless of an actor’s skills.
“Also, I have a vision for the play. I know how I want it done.”
Over the course of the show, we discover the impetus for Hagop’s action and a horrific part of his family history kept buried for more than half a century.
It’ll be good to see Alianak back on the stage. A major force in 70s Canadian theatre for his experimental scripts, he had a big hit with his last play, The Walls Of Africa.
“My good friend David French (Leaving Home, Salt-Water Moon) and I are currently lecturing at schools about Canadian theatre in the 70s, with its two streams of realistic and abstract drama. People know his work, but they don’t know mine as well.”