By F. Kathleen Foley
L.A.’s theater scene is loaded with premieres this week, with new plays centered on the Armenian genocide (“Constantinople” in North Hollywood), family discord (“Last Swallows” in West Hollywood), CIA intrigue (“The Surveillance Trilogy” in Beverly Hills) and the fallout of a political sex scandal (“Representative Behavior” in Burbank).
‘Constantinople’ at the Secret Rose
The essentials: In 1919 Constantinople, an Armenian women’s rights activist and an intrepid guerrilla fighter join forces to smuggle weapons and supplies into their ravaged homeland while spiriting out women and children abducted during the genocide. Other characters — a dying poet rushing to complete his magnum opus, a young feminist rescued from abduction, a rape victim forced to bear her assailant’s child— strive for some semblance of normalcy.
Why this? Playwright Aram Kouyoumdjian, who also directs, clarifies the historical intricacies of a turbulent period. Kouyoumdjian intends his strikingly contemporary play not as a period piece, but as a reflection of our current geopolitical climate. “A century later, we find ourselves contending with the same struggles as the play’s protagonists,” he says. “Displacement, anti-immigrant sentiment, populism, demagoguery and a struggle for women’s rights.”
Details: Vista Players at Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 W. Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 2. $20-$40. (818) 538-4911. itsmyseat.com/constantinople