AZAD (the rabbit and the wolf)
a multimedia theatrical experience
written by Sona Tatoyan (’00) in collaboration with Jared Mezzocchi

February 1, 2024
7:30pm, Tedford Stage

Those who tell the stories hold the power in this kaleidoscopic, multi-media story-within-a-story-within-a-story blending Armenian and Arabic folklore with Karagöz shadow puppetry. This isn’t a play, but instead a mosaic of centuries old mythic archetypes found not only within ourselves but in the pain and metamorphic magic that we pass on from generation to generation.

Syrian-Armenian-American theater and film artist Sona Tatoyan (’00), stranded in the otherwise abandoned Aleppo family home during the Syrian war, fears for her dear friend and mentor, Turkish human rights activist Osman Kavala, recently jailed and facing a possible life sentence. Amid this backdrop, she discovers her great-great grandfather’s handmade Karagöz shadow puppets a century after he salvaged his family and his art from the Armenian Genocide.

These puppets have their own stories to tell; some bawdy and hilarious, others horrifying. They lead her through a dizzying psychedelic, intergenerational mental landscape with the help of master storyteller—ScherAzad – who enchants a vengeful king by spinning tales of 1001 Nights, ultimately healing his rage and inspiring empathy. Sona relives her own journey, isolated and an outsider both in suburban Indiana and in Aleppo. She is a wounded storyteller, in her denying, hiding, and revealing of secrets. The only way out is through. From the ashes of her own and ancestral anguish, she alchemizes a radiant truth with universal implications: Those who are debased and destroyed have the power to transfigure trauma into spiritual wholeness through reframed stories that celebrate our collective resilience and humanity.

Sona Tatoyan (’00) is a Wake Forest artist-in-residence in early 2024, sponsored by the Provost’s Fund for Academic Excellence, the Interdisciplinary Arts Center, the Program for Leadership and Character and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

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