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Georgetown Boys play was amazing! [May. 17th, 2008|06:57 pm]
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The Georgetown Boys play was last Wednesday. The run in the little theatre was from May 1 to 10, and then they re-jigged the set and performed it at the John Elliot Theatre in Georgetown for a final gala event. I wish I could have seen some of the shows in the little theatre for comparison sake because the stages were different. In the little one, it was theatre in the round, but the main stage is a standard stage.

Each night sold out and the wine and cheese reception on Wednesday was packed. A number of the writers in my online critique group came out and I brought 21 people with me from Brantford in the obese limo. The descendants of the Georgetown Boys were out in force, and there were lots of people from the Toronto, Oakville and Cambridge Armenian communities.

Kate from the Freckled Lion Bookstore was selling all of my Armenian books hand over fist and she wanted me to sit down and sign during the wine and cheese reception. Instead, I got out a pen and told her if people wanted me to sign books, they could come in and ask me, but that I wanted to chat with friends and drink wine. :-)

In retrospect, I should have listened to Kate. I was surrounded by layers of people with books for autograph in the reception room, and barely had time to find my son and husband, let alone introduce my family to various friends. And I was wearing high heels on a hard floor, holding books and signing. When we finally got home and got to bed, I realized that I had done a number on one of my knees. Kept on waking up all night with stabbing pain. My husband says I've pulled a tendon.

But the play itself was amazing! They included archival footage on a screen behind the stage of Armenians being expelled from Turkey in 1923, and of the burning of Smyrna. They had photos of the orphans arriving in Canada and news clips and telegrams all integrated into the narrative of the play. Sam Hancock, who wrote the script and produced the play, kept strictly to my storyline, using my own words. He had developed one additional character to act as a foil and that was interesting to see as well.

One challenge he had was to convey the fact that the boys couldn't understand anything that was said to them after their teacher went into hiding in Montreal. In the book it's clear because it's from Aram's perspective. The way Sam resolved it was to have the boys speak actual Armenian when they were in the presence of Canadians, but to revert to English when they were speaking among themselves. This meant that the kids who were playing the roles had huge chunks of Armenian to learn! I introduced Sam to an Armenian teacher from Oakville and she taught the kids Armenian.

There was one scene where a character had to speak about a minute's worth of Armenian. There was a sigh of appreciation from the audience, and then vigorous applause. Apparently, the pronunciation was superb. When the show ended, there was a standing ovation.

When I was writing the Aram books, I happened upon the fact that it was the real Aris Alexanian of Alexanian Carpets who came to the boys' rescue to act as an intirim interpretor until a replacement for Mr. Chechian could be found. I had contacted the Alexanian sons to see if they would agree to have the character based on their father be called Mr. Alexanian. I sent them my manuscript so they could see for themselves what I was doing. Well, the Alexanian family attended the play in force! Both sons, their children and grandchildren were there and they were all so proud!

At the end of the play, Sam asked if the descendants of the Georgetown Boys in the audience would stand up. There were about 25 of them. It was awesome!!

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: marsha_s
2008-05-19 04:16 pm (UTC)

Re: From Martha

(Link)

Oh yes, it just wouldn't be the same in sensible flats. How often does one get to see a play based on one's own books?