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AZAD, an immersive theatrical performance in Los Angeles for Armenian and Syrian culture

April 21, 2022 @ 18:30 - 20:30

This is a ticketed event (Apr 21, 22, 23), RSVP HERE.


In honor and in advance of the annual Armenian commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, on April 24th, 2022, The Markaz Review recommends this Los Angeles theatre event, with five performances on Apr 21, 22 & 23.

A woman’s magical, healing journey from the Armenian Genocide to the Syrian war, weaving Karagöz puppetry, Hakawati storytelling and more.

AZAD ( “Free” in Armenian) is a kaleidoscopic story within a story within a story, centered around a storyteller’s discovery of her great-great grandfather’s shadow puppets in Aleppo…

In the winter of 2019, an Armenian artist returned to her Aleppan family home for the first time since the Syrian war. There, in the attic, she found her great-grandfather’s Karagöz shadow puppets, the magical extension of his voice as a citizen of the Ottoman Empire. When the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide befell the community, he escaped his home with his wife, seven children and his trunk full of his beloved puppets to re-build a life in Aleppo. 

Sona Tatoyan

AZAD is an immersive, magical, theatrical experience. It weaves together the classical art of oral Middle Eastern storytelling with centuries old Anatolian Karagöz shadow puppets and the magic of cinema.

The performance transports the audience to a Middle Eastern coffee shop with its tastes and smells, where for centuries storytellers (Hakawatis) and Karagöz (a form of pre-cinema playing with shadow and light) shadow puppeteers performed the tales from 1001 Nights. Projections and lighting transform this coffee shop from Ottoman times to modern pre-civil war Aleppo. Transcendent, classical music seamlessly blends with modern surround electronic soundscapes. The result: a multi-sensorial, time traveling exploration of healing. Audiences see, hear, smell and taste what it was like to be in Aleppo through various times in the city’s history – connecting us all to the legacy of a family of storytellers transmuting trauma into art.

Sona Tatoyan a first generation Syrian-Armenian-American actor/writer/producer with bases in Aleppo, Syria; Berlin, Germany; LA, California and Yerevan, Armenia. As an actress, stage credits include world premieres at Yale Repertory Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, The American Conservatory Theatre and others. She starred in The Journey, the first American independent film shot in Armenia (winner, Audience Award Milan Film Festival, 2002). As a writer her first feature film script, The First Full Moon, was a 2011 Sundance/RAWI Screenwriters Lab participant and 2012 Dubai Film Connection/Festival Project. Ms. Tatoyan co-founded Hakawati, a nonprofit storytelling vehicle focusing on elevating the voices of frontline and marginalized communities.


This is a ticketed event (three dates), RSVP HERE.



April 21, 2022
18:30 - 20:30
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The Pico
10508 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064 United States
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