This August, International City Theatre is producing the play Beast on the Moon; a story of two young immigrants in the 1920’s who escaped the Armenian Genocide and work together to start a new life in America. Our previous blog post (click HERE to read!) explains the historical significance of the play and the history behind the Armenian Genocide. In this blog post we want to dive a little deeper into the play’s history & playwright Richard Kalinoski’s contribution to Armenian culture.
Beast on the Moon was first published in 1992, and has been performed in over 20 countries around the globe. It has also been translated to over 19 languages including Turkish. Some find this surprising considering the genocide was carried out by the Ottoman Empire under Turkish rule and to this day the Turkish government does not recognize the genocide. The translation of Beast on the Moon into Turkish shows the powerful message this play has, one that anyone can benefit from no matter their background.
Some very prominent theaters that have produced Beast on the Moon, including: The Moscow Art Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse and Off-Broadway at the Century Center for the Performing Arts. The most recent production of Beast on the Moon was done by the Finborough Theatre in London, in early 2019. That production received 4 out of 5 stars from the London Evening Standard who put it on their must-see show list, calling it “Powerful.” Regarding its production off-Broadway in New York, Howard Kissel of the New York Daily News claimed Beast on the Moon was “One of five must-see plays in New York… The play moves from tragedy and turmoil to a profound sense of promise.” Playwright Richard Kalinoski has said that productions in Paris and Japan are pending as of 2019.
In addition to being performed all around the globe, Beast on the Moon has won 5 Moliere awards (the French equivalent of a Tony Award), including Best Play, 5 Ace Awards, including Best Play and an Osborn for Best New Play in America. Including these major awards, Beast on the Moon has won the Movses Khorenatsi Medal; the highest Armenian Cultural Award presented by the president of Armenia on behalf of the country of Armenia in 2005. This award is given as an acknowledgement of advancement of Armenian culture, art, literature, education, social sciences or sports.
Beast on the Moon is Richard Kalinoski’s most successful and well known play, despite being about a subject that is almost never taught in public education. Kalinoski’s plays are known to deal with global trauma and events through the lens of interpersonal relationships. With Beast on the Moon, Kalinoski explores different perspectives of healing from trauma and how building a family can help with that process through his two main characters, Aram and Seta. They both survived one of the worst tragedies in the early 19th century and still managed to find their way in America through grit, determination, and the dream of a better life for their family. In a recent interview by Close up Culture, Kalinoski remarked that “my fondest hope is that Beast On The Moon will become a feature film”. At this point, there are no rumors of a movie adaptation of the play but like the main characters Aram and Seta, we can dream.
Beast on the Moon is directed by our very own artistic director and producer, caryn desai, and will be at the Beverly O’Neil Theater at 330 East Seaside Way, Long Beach, 90802. Beast on the Moon will preview August 21st and August 22nd at 8pm, with opening night being Friday, August 23rd at 8pm as well. The show will run until September 8th, with shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Shows on Sunday at 2pm. There is also a talk-back with the cast on Sunday, September 1st after the show (at no additional cost) which is a great way to learn more about the production, actors and the impact of the show.
If you are interested in coming to the show, you can purchase tickets online HERE. If you have any other questions please feel free to call us at (562) 436-4610 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.