Written by Gordon Penn
Directed by Arthur Makaryan
FEBRUARY 6 - 16, 2019
BLACK GARDEN weaves together divergent stories of civilians, soldiers and politicians. Two lovers struggle to find each other through the fog of amnesia. A pacifist Army officer is imprisoned and accused of espionage. Corrupt presidents on opposing sides put their political survival over the fates of people. Diaspora Armenians cement this theatrical collage as they search for love and question identity.
"A dialogue both violent and peppered with cynicism."
“Black Garden...awakens the curiosity of the audience by pushing them to decrypt the root of this discord [between Armenia and Azerbaijan].”
"Gordon Penn, a progressive playwright...does not choose a side...and dedicates himself to elevating the role of the Middle-Eastern woman.”
Black Garden is a theatrical collage that made its international debut in Paris, September 2018, at the Théâtre de l’Opprimé for their “Plein feux sur la jeune création” new works festival with the support of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and private sponsors.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
GORDON PENN (Playwright)
Gordon Penn is a playwright, American Soldier and theatre educator. Directed by Arthur Makaryan: BLACK GARDEN at the Pleins Feux sur la jeune création festival at the Théâtre de l’Opprimé, Paris; Shapiro Theatre at Columbia University of New York. Directed by Ann Cooley: INTO THE ZONE at The Pershing Square Signature Theatre, Shapiro Theatre at Columbia University of New York, Shanghai Theatre Academy (Mandarin Translation); THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE at The City College of New York. Military Structure and Costume Consulting: (Opera) AN AMERICAN SOLDIER by David Henry Hwang and Huang Ruo at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; (Feature film) THE MENTAL STATE. Gordon is a Veteran of the United States Army. While on active duty, Gordon was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard” Escort To The President of the United States, proudly participating in the 2009 inauguration of the President Barrack Obama. Gordon is currently an Army journalist (46Q) assigned to the 361st Public Affairs Detachment, United States Army Reserve, Fort Totten, Queens. In Los Angeles, Gordon managed actors back at the turn of the century. Starting the careers of Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls), Brent Sexton, Adria Dawn (Popular), and Patrick Belton. In Chicago, Gordon studied at The Second City Training Center and The Improv Olympic (IO). B.S. Fordham University 2015; MFA Columbia 2018. At Columbia University Gordon was the Shubert Fellow for 2015-17, Oscar Hammerstein Prize 2018.
ARTHUR MAKARYAN (Director and Producer)
Arthur Makaryan was the recipient of the 2017-18 Opera Directing Fellowship at the Juilliard School. He holds masters’ degrees in directing from Columbia University in NYC, La Sorbonne University in Paris and the Yerevan State Institute of Theater. He has assisted Stephen Wadsworth at Metropolitan Opera and Peter Jay Sharp Theatre in NYC; Darren Katz; the resident director for The Lion King musical on Broadway, Sybille Wilson at Royal Parc Theater in Brussels, etc. His most recent credits include the Simulacrum multimedia contemporary opera at 3LD Art and Technology Center, Broken April at LenFest Center for Arts, Hamlet Machine and Black Garden that have been touring in Russia, Europe and USA. Arthur co-founded Epsidon Theatre Company in Armenia in 2012 where he staged two musicals. In 2014, he made his Avignon-Off festival debut with A la vie, a la mort performance by Simone Rist. Recently, joined SDC union and NY Arts Program Faculty. (http://arthurmakaryan.com)
TAMARA SEVUNTS (J, Zabel, Muzzle, Kha, Lorig, Anahit, Tamara)
Tamara Sevunts is a Canadian-Armenian actress, fluent in 6 languages, and based in NYC. Off-Broadway credits include: “Your Alice” (BAM), “Daybreak” (Beckett Theatre), “The Good Girl” (59E59 Theatres) and “Loose Canon” (SoHo Playhouse). Regional credits include: Feste in “Twelfth Night”, Angelo in “Measure for Measure”, Hysterium in “Forum” amongst others at The Scranton Shakespeare Festival. Film credits include: “You Can’t Go Home Again” (Lincoln Center), “The Real American” (Atlanta Film Festival, NYTVF...) More at www.tamarasevunts.com
ALEX MARZ * (R, Serj, Juraslob, Tony, Aram, Alex)
Alex is an NYC based actor. Credits include - Off-Broadway: Othello: The Remix (u/s Iago/Cassio) New York: La MaMa, Manhattan Rep, The Connelly. Regional: Williamstown Theater Festival, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Speakeasy Stage Co., Lyric Stage Co., Commonwealth Shakespeare Co., Regal Music Theater. Alex is a recent graduate of Columbia University where he received his MFA in acting. Proud member of AEA.
*These Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association
ELIZAGRACE MADRONE (Dramaturg)
Elizagrace Madrone is a dramaturg, lyricist, playwright, and performer based in New York City. In the past year her writing has been on stage with Exquisite Corpse Company, the audio-immersive experience Stranger, and Random People Productions. As a lyricist, she has multiple pieces out with composer Elsa Nilsson, including a suite of tunes written & composed for Wave Hill’s summer sunset series and an upcoming multi-media performance project focused on climate change. Her own band/performance piece with Alex Minier, Wool Sucker, recently released their debut album Plastic Wings. Elizagrace is currently an MFA candidate in Dramaturgy at Columbia University.
KRISTEN BROOKS SANDLER (Choreographer)
Kristen Brooks Sandler is a purple haired choreographer whose work lives at the intersection of theater & concert dance. She employs narrative in tandem with a dark, avant-garde aesthetic to explore the peculiar. Select Credits: Your Alice (BAM, Edinburgh Fringe), A Chorus Line (Mill Mountain Theatre), Lysistrata Jones (NYITA Nom - Best Choreography), Gilded (Capital Fringe - Best Dance), Shimmer & Shine (Nickelodeon), Sunny Day (Nickelodeon Jr), Sweatsgiving (International Film Channel), She Loves Me (Bartlesville), Hunchback of Notre Dame (Associate, Gothenburg Opera), Jesus Christ Superstar (Associate, Signature Theater. Helen Hayse Nomination). IG: KristenBrooks19 //www.KristenBrooksSandler.com
ROBERT NAJARIAN (Fight choreographer)
Robert Najarian is an actor, movement director, fight choreographer, instructor, and author who has designed fight choreography for over 100 productions for stage and screen nationally. New York: Macbeth (Shelter Theatre Company), King Lear (Gallery Players.) Regional: Carmen (Boston Lyric Opera) Don Quixote (Boston Ballet), Johnny Baseball (American Repertory Theater,) As You Like It (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company,) The Lieutenant of Inishmore (New Repertory Theatre,) These Seven Sicknesses (Trinity Rep/Brown Consortium.) He has been on faculty in the Theatre Departments at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Boston University, and College of the Holy Cross. He is a member of SDC, AEA, SAG, and a Fight Director with the Society of American Fight Directors. His book The Art of Unarmed Stage Combat is available through Routledge.
KELVIN PATER (Set and lighting designer)
Born and raised in Amsterdam, he graduated from the Theater Technical Arts program at the Amsterdam University of the Arts in 2015, starting a career as light designer/installation artist. Realizing how light sculptures the world around us, he shifted his focus to creating spaces that allow light to react. This lead to the completion of his MFA in Design for Stage & Film at NYU - Tisch School of the Arts in 2018. Next to his ongoing commitments as the Prop Artisan for the Second Avenue Theater Company in NYC, his recent theater credits include: Black Garden (Paris), Broken April (Columbia Stages), Sunset Park & Beauty of the Father (NYU). https://www.kelvinpater.com
NINA VARDANIAN (Costume designer)
Nina Vartanian (Costume Designer): Broadway, Assistant Costume Designer M. Butterfly. Off Broadway New York, Hamlet (Waterwell) Alkestis (Columbia University) Theater For One (The Signature Theater) Ruthless The Musical (St. Lukes Theater) Much Ado About Nothing (Frog & Peach Theater Co.) Titus Andronicus (Frog & Peach Theater Co.) Othello (Shakespeare in the Parking Lot) Regional, The Clean House (Boise Contemporary Theater) TV/Film, Be Right Back (Bon Apple Tea Productions) Just Sing (Bon Apple Tea Productions) Root For The Villain (NYU), Be My Baby (NYU), Apple Pie (NYU).http://nina-vartanian.squarespace.com
JACOB SACHS-MISHALANIE (Composer and sound designer)
Originally from Utica, NY, Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie is a Brooklyn based composer, songwriter, and teacher. In his recent music and research, his central focus is on the expressive and sonic relationships between acoustic instruments and electronic sounds. Jacob a PhD candidate in composition at the CUNY Graduate Center, and previously studied at SUNY Purchase. His primary teachers have been Jason Eckardt, Jeff Nichols, Suzanne Farrin, Du Yun, and Huang Ruo. As a Mellon Humanities Alliance Teaching Fellow, he teaches Critical Thinking at LaGuardia CC, and as an adjunct he teaches Music Theory & Technology at Brooklyn College. http://jsmishalanie.com