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  Beast on the Moon at Raven Theatre

Beast on the Moon

Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St Chicago

Aram Tomasian is an Armenian immigrant living in 1920's Milwaukee who has escaped the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 by the Turks in his homeland in Eastern Turkey. He wants to make a fresh start and build a new family in the new world to replace the family he lost to the genocide. He selects a mail-order bride and into his life comes an Armenian teen-ager, Seta, who has also escaped the vicious grip of the Ottoman warlords. He learns that building a marriage and a family is more difficult than he anticipated, but he ultimately succeeds in unexpected and heart-warming ways.

Thru - Jun 6, 2015

Price: $36

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-338-2177

Running Time: 2hrs, 20mins; one intermission

Nearby Restaurants

  Beast on the Moon Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Raven Theatre’s production of Richard Kalinoski’s play, “Beast on the Moon,” has arrived on stage at the very moment the world is being reminded of the 100th anniversary of the start of what has become known as the Armenian genocide. And not only does it tell a poignant story of two young survivors of that horrific massacre — which occurred when an already flailing Ottoman government embarked on a horrific campaign against its Armenian population that resulted in the death of 1.5 million people. But the play has been directed by Raven’s founder and artistic director, Michael Menendian (a first generation Armenian-American), and its central role of Seta is being played by his beguiling daughter, actress Sophia Menendian (whose mother, JoAnn Montemurro, is the company’s co-artistic director)."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Aram is a portrait photographer who hid while the rest of his family were beheaded; Seta is his "picture bride," whose mother was among the crucified. Married strangers, they struggle with trauma, their own and each other's. The plotting is pat and speeches strain for lyricism at times. But the ferocity of the performances goes a long way toward neutralizing all cliches. Matt Browning's Aram is one desperately messed-up refugee, while Sophia Menendian combines deep wounds with a powerful life force as Seta."
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Tony Adler

Edge - Somewhat Recommended

"...Under Michael Menendian's direction, the four actors (Vincent also appears as a child) give quite good performances, though they don't always successfully gel. Sophia Menendian's (Seta, and daughter of the director) performance is often a bit manic, rather than childlike in the early going. It's very satisfying to watch her grow into a (somewhat) more assertive individual, but her energy is pitched so high from the beginning that the role seems to wear on both actor and audience."
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Christine Malcom

Theatre By Numbers - Recommended

"...The production looks beautiful, and as a former resident of Milwaukee, I have to give props to the Kristin Abhalter's design of the Tomasian apartment, because it's spot on. Director Michael Menendian has cleverly melded visual and audio technologies and used them to great effect as well, without sacrificing the period feel of the piece."
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Jackie Davies

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Outwardly, Richard Kalinoski’s play “Beast on the Moon” is about a young man and a teenage girl, refugees from the 1915 Armenian genocide who have lost their families and embark on a new life together as immigrants in Milwaukee. But as Raven Theatre’s exuberantly funny and sensitive production so urgently telegraphs, this tragi-comedy is ultimately about the beast within – a fearsome creature of the mind spawned by terror, isolation and guilt."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Splash Magazine - Recommended

"...Wisely the script focuses not just on the genocide’s atrocities but on the days after when life goes on. This choice to focus the story on survival, coupled with the high caliber acting and direction of this Raven production, can give us hope that “Beast on the Moon” will shed a much needed light on the story of the 20th Century’s first genocide."
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Amy Munice

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Beast on the Moon is unflinching in its depiction of the aftereffects of trauma, including the way it damages victims. The Armenian form of Christianity, which the characters would have been martyred for, proves when practiced traditionally to be too stifling for life in modern America. Aram is a mess, and Seta and Vincent have their own recoveries to go through. But the play isn’t all bleak. Besides the humor the children inject, Joe Court has provided a beautiful sound design which employs music at key points to reinforce the extreme emotions of the characters."
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Jacob Davis

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...The performances were also uniformly strong. Each role was offered with a respect and understanding of the story being told, particularly in moments of conflict and deep heartache. The actors mostly earn the story's cathartic moments; a late monologue from Browning in particular packed a great emotional punch. Young Mr. Lamm was a standout, handling his character's complex emotions with great skill, as well as providing some of the play's funniest moments. Ms. Menendian ably portrayed Seta's maturation from a girl into a young woman. While some moments bordered on being decidedly presentational and distracting, particularly in the play's early going, these were outweighed by earnest and connected deliveries overall, especially in act II. On the whole, Beast on the Moon is a worthwhile and important evening of theatre, shining light on a tragedy wrongfully lost to time. This play does what it sets out to do: celebrate the culture and strength of the Armenian people, and to keep their memories alive."

Conor McShane and Leslie Hull

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...The award winning “Beast on the Moon” by Richard Kalinoski is the final play of Raven Theatre’s 2014-15 season, and what a way to end a great season! While the topic of this play may turn away some people, as it is a story that deals with survivors of the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900’s, it is a warm-hearted love story that delves deep into the minds and souls of the people who have survived such ordeals in their lives."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...This is a deep and moving piece that educates while it entertains, doing so without making the audience feel clubbed over the head with information."
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Christopher Kidder-Mostrom

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...The key to "Beast" is its narrative simplicity, and the way that simplicity allows the emotions of its characters to take center stage. Seta, a 15-year-old Armenian whose family was murdered in the genocide, arrives at the beautiful Milwaukee apartment of Aram Tomasian, a fellow Armenian whose family was also murdered. The year is 1921, and Aram, via a booklet advertising Armenian orphans, has wedded Seta and paid for her transportation to Milwaukee, all with the intention of starting a family in America, one removed from the horrors of the past."
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Peter Thomas Ricci

  Beast on the Moon Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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