KANSAS CITY — Despite the challenges of Covid-19, Kansas City Actors Theater is pressing on with its play, Four Children. Based around eye-witness accounts of four genocide survivors, including Vahram Dadrian’s “To the Desert: Pages from My Diary,” this play focuses on the horrors of genocide and its enduring impact on survivors and their descendants.
Vahram Dadrian was exiled with the rest of his family from Chorum to Jersh (Jordan) in 1915. An aspiring writer, he kept notes of his experiences and wrote them out into a full diary after WWI. His account gives voice to his own experiences, as well as those of others he saw around him. These included the emaciated remnants of deportation convoys and other inmates of death camps.
“This is a powerful play that keeps the Armenian experience in focus in the United States,” said Anoush Melkonian of the Gomidas Institute. “We thank Kansas City Actors Theater for this timely and bold production.”
Four Children will feature between 7 to 24 October, 2021.
NOTE: Vahram Dadrian was the late historian, Vahakn Dadrian’s cousin.
“Do you know how deer are hunted? Hundreds of them are penned up inside the woods of a palace. Hunters surround the forest and wait in ambush at all escape routes. When everything is ready, the hunting dogs run the deer out of their pens and chase them through the forest. The animals, unaware of the hidden hunters or the traps set for them, flee with all the strength of their legs.
Suddenly a shotgun resounds through the bushes. Four, five of them fall, and the rest, terrified, turn around and run off in different directions. Again the hunters open fire on them. Those that have been mortally wounded fall; those that are still alive proceed with their alarming escape.
Now they find themselves in front of a precipice. Some fall in; the others continue their escape. More shots, more traps, more massacres and carnage. . . . And that is how it is . .. in the evening the ground is strewn with corpses and with struggling wounded animals that bellow in their agony. If a few have escaped, they are already lost in the thick of the woods; they mourn the memory of an atrocious day, the death of their loved ones.
To get an idea of the Medz Yeghern (Armenian Genocide), one need only expand this image. Imagine all of Turkey as a forest, and the three million Armenians as the deer in that forest. All the bloody murderers, thieves, vagabonds, and brigands of Turkey (Turkish, Kurdish, Laz, Chechen, Circassian, etc.) have surrounded this forest, waiting in ambush at each crossroad, along the shores of the rivers, deep in the valleys, and at the approaches to all passages.”
— Vahram Dadrian, To the Desert: Pages from My Diary, transl Agop J. Hacikyan (Gomidas Institute, London), p. 1.