The “Pakin” Literary magazine organized a reading on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the editorial offices of “Pakin” at the Shaghzoyian center in Bourj Hammoud. Readers, intellectuals, and friends of “Pakin” attended the meeting.
Seta Krikorian, the associate editor of “Pakin,” presented Armen Urneshlian, the speaker. She said that Mr. Urneshlian was born in Beirut and received his high school education at the Melkonian Education Center in Cyprus. In 1992 he received his master’s degree with excellence at the Faculty of Philology of the Yerevan State University. From 1992-1996 Mr. Urneshlian was the principal of Vahan Tekeyian Middle School in Beirut. As a visiting lecturer he teaches Diasporan-Armenian literature and the history of Armenian literature. In 2011, after defending his thesis on Diasporan-Armenian theater, Mr. Urneshlian receives his PhD from the Yerevan State University. Since 2001 he has been a member of the editorial board of the Haigazian Armenological Publication. Since 2002 he has served as the chairman of the Antranig Cultural Association of Armenian Youth Association.
Afterward, Mr. Urneshlian spoke and detailed the main periods of Armenian theater, citing its beginning in 1776. Focusing mainly on the Diasporan-Armenian theater, Mr. Urneshlian underlined that national and political themes, genocide, and later assimilation are at the center of topics discussed in the Diasporan-Armenian theater. Playwriting began in 1776 with the Mkhitarian monks who wrote about historical topics. After being forbidden in the days of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid, Armenian theater was once again allowed in 1908, “however, it was lacking its former glory and lust,” he said. Mr. Urneshlian gave details about the major personae of the Armenian theater and its topics. The Armenian playwrights portrayed the pain of the genocide in the plays of the 1920 and 1930s. Mr. Urneshlian also said he is greatly influenced by the “Art of Playwriting” by Dr. Papken Papazian. He also cited among his influences the play “King Hetoum,” written by Hrant Markarian in 1995, a work that conveys direct educational messages through historical topics. He also mentioned several plays such as “Stepannos Syunetsi,” and appreciated the works of many playwrights, such as those of Hagop and Vahe Oshagans, “Anmahneri yerte” (“The march of the immortals”) by Yervant Hayrabedian, “Anavard sgizp” (“Incomplete start”) by Vache Ardzrouni, and “Nor armade” (“The new root”) by Vahe Oshagan, among others. He wished that all those plays could be performed on stage. Toward the end of his lecture, Mr. Urneshlian answered questions from the audience. Different opinions, questions, and worries were heard during the discussion.