Festival of Plays: Women of Ararat
Theatre Staged Reading
On the eve of World War I, there were two million Armenians in the declining Ottoman Empire. By 1922, there were fewer than 400,000. The missing 1.5 million were victims of what historians call the Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust. The massacre toll rose to its unimaginable height through death marches, drowning and burnings. Despite this, in Turkey it is still a crime to question what happened to the Armenians. Today the number of countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide is slowly climbing. Playwright Judith Boyajian Strang was sensitive to this fact when she penned Women of Ararat. A Boston metro west resident, she points out that: “Boston can boast a population of extremely well-educated residents. However, I often meet people who’ve never heard of the Armenian Genocide.” Having majored in piano at the Boston Conservatory, then a degree in opera performance at USC, and finally arts administration at New York University, Strang's background in the arts and personal Armenian connection make Women of Ararat a powerful tale of women’s courage, perseverance, and love for family. With Strang's guiding finesses, the play contrasts its heavy subject with moments of humor and light-heartedness. The opening scenes are based on Strang's own childhood and the play spans 10 years, 1965-75, from start to finish. Sponsored by the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA), the play commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Genocide in April 2015. Although this is one family’s story, this play reflects the deep emotions of women in Bosnia, Rwanda, the Sudan, Greece, Ireland, Cambodia, and Jews throughout the world. It is a story that relates how women cope with men’s violence, leaving them without husbands, brothers and sons.