The Armenian-American comedy play “Where Is Your Groom? (Pesad Oor Eh)” will be performed for the Vancouver Armenian community on Saturday, October 15, at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, in an event hosted by the Armenian Cultural Association of British Columbia (ACA).
“Where Is Your Groom?,” written by Taleen Babayan and directed by Jirayir Arslanyan, is a play that crosses ethnic boundaries and delivers shared laughs as it follows the story of an Armenian-Canadian family’s quest to find their daughter a suitable spouse. The themes of assimilation, cultural identity and generational divides take center stage in this warm-hearted comedy that shows the lengths one family will go to in order to maintain their ethnic ties while living in North America. The play is in both English and Armenian, and suitable for Armenian and non-Armenian speaking audiences.
The play debuted under Babayan’s tutelage in New York City in 2013. The original and its sequel have gone on to perform over 15 times around the U.S., including in Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Fresno, featuring close to 50 different cast and crew members. This current iteration will spotlight a local cast from the greater Vancouver region.
For members of the Armenian Canadian Armenian community, it was a chance to widen their horizons, participate in their culture, and enjoy their time on stage.
“It’s been fulfilling getting to know others in the community and really forming a bond as a group,” said Natalie Arslanyan, who plays the character of bride-to-be Lara. “This has been a unique experience that I’ll cherish forever.”
Ben Migirditch, who plays the groom-to-be Ari, hopes that the performance will encourage the community to connect and learn more about one another.
“Art has a way of bridging gaps in time and language to bring us together in a shared culture,” said Migirditch. “To me, this play does exactly that while reminding us of the joy of inclusion, the importance of family, and the rich spiritual reward of working to keep a culture alive.”
After focusing on music for the last few years, Ivan Vladikovic returned to his acting roots for the role of “Matt,” a non-Armenian vying for Lara’s affection. Reflecting on his grandfather’s Armenian heritage, Vladikovic felt a connection to the character, who is a musician.
“This character and play hits home with me as it draws many parallels to my personal life,” said Vladikovic. “I’m truly excited for gaining better insight into my heritage and the Armenian community through theatre and art.”
As Chairperson of ACA of BC, Anita Desjardins was looking to organize a cultural event for the community that would “lift the spirits and bring people together” after two years of experiencing the COVID pandemic.
“’Where is your Groom’” is the perfect vehicle for not only the Armenian community but the larger Canadian community as well,” said Desjardins. “It’s hard work and a labour of love, but it has brought a wide variety of members together, including first, second, and third generation Canadian-Armenians, in a real spirit of friendship and cooperation.”
“I’m delighted that ‘Where Is Your Groom’ continues to come alive on stage almost a decade after its debut, which is a testament to the significance of the play and themes that hit home in our daily lives and communities,” said Babayan. “I’m so pleased that the Armenian Cultural Association of British Columbia took the initiative to stage the play for the Vancouver Armenian community and to connect more Armenians on and off the stage.”
The cast includes Harout Apigian, Natalie Arslanyan, Sako Arzoumanian, Elo Attarmigirian, Hagop Attarmigirian, Rebecca Desjardins, Liza Deyrmenjian, Ani Khoudian, Alice Lazarian, Rita Manoukian, Viken Majarian, Ben Migirditch, Shahin Soheili, Ivan Vladikovic and Simon Yaghdjian.
The ACA is a non-profit organization that strives to preserve and promote the heritage and culture of the Armenian people and focuses on efforts to foster a wider appreciation of Armenian history, traditions and values. The Michael J. Fox Theatre is located at 7373 MacPherson Avenue, Burnaby, BC V5J 2B7. For tickets please call Greg Yaghdjian at 604-290-3090 or visit the website.