My Genius of Humanity
by Richard Kalinoski
A full length play inspired by the misbegotten journey of some well-intentioned Armenian-Americans after World War 11. A few hundred Armenian-Americans
were seduced by the Stalinist regime of the Soviet Union to re-settle in their homeland, Armenia, in 1947 and in 1949 (two “caravans).
My Genius of Humanity examines the plight of the Davidian family as they attempt to integrate and assimilate in Armenia, a place of grinding poverty dominated by
a stubborn communist bureaucracy and infused with an insidious paranoia promulgated by the apparatus of Stalin’s many minions.
Nina Davidian, her father having been murdered by Turks under cover of World War I, wishes to help “repatriate” Armenia. She is willing to risk a great deal for a chance to reclaiman Armenian homeland and to re-capture “home”--- in Armenia. Her husband, Daniel, a successful banker in Kalamazoo, Michigan is reluctant. Nina’s son, Armen, refuses to accompany his parents and his sister, Rose as the three of them anticipate boarding a ship headed in the direction of Yerevan.
Eventually, the family—all four of them—make the complicated journey to Yerevan, Armenia. As soon as they arrive the family is immediately stunned by the sudden and distinct indignity of poverty. The Soviet influence is pervasive, the atmosphere is frightening…the chances for meaningful employment are meager. The food is terrible, the lines for bread are long, the lack of privacy is piercing and humiliating. The Davidian family have become citizens of a Soviet state—an Armenian Soviet state.
The play unfolds around the effort of the Davidian family to regain their dignity, their composure, their identity. Despite their Armenian heritage…they are indeed Americans—and in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
The play is a result of a series of in depth interviews with survivors who eventually made their way back to the United States after the Soviets slightly loosened their grip on the citizenry of a struggling Armenia.
--Commissioned by Fresno State University Theatre, the Armenian Studies Center at Fresno State and the Armenian Museum of Fresno to write a full length play commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Holocaust; Two public readings so far