poems and making them into theater, because it's an emotional roller
coaster. They go from the jubilee of a wedding to a funeral, and then
to erotic love songs. The themes are chained together."
"They Were Poets" debuted at Hollywood's Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
earlier this month. Another performance is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Saturday at the theater, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., and the show could be
extended another week or two.
Keshishian, a Glendale resident, teaches Armenian Language and
Literature at UCLA. Three years ago, she recruited a group of her
students to form Arena Productions, a Glendale-based nonprofit group
that aims to bring innovative performances to the Los Angeles area.
"They Were Poets" includes a cast of 13, mostly Armenians and
students or former students.
"It was something that has never been done before, and I don't
know if it'll ever be done again," said Ashot Tadevosian, a member of
the cast. "Armenian culture remains among Armenians. It really never
gets out and is never presented to other nationalities. For it to be
recognized, this is the best way to do it -- to translate it into a
language like English. A lot of people speak English."
The play includes 22 poems with many from well-known Armenian
poets, but Keshishian did not necessarily pick their best-known
"It was a really interesting concept in that they did take these
amazing poems and translate them into English and put them to music,"
said Teni Khachaturian, who saw the play Nov. 13. "The combination of
the two things was really powerful."
Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 818-240-7080, or by
e-mail at email@example.com.