PHOTO FLASH: First Look at Arthur Elbakyan's MY INSANE SHAKESPEARE in Montreal

By: Dec. 23, 2016

After a huge success at the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City, award-winning actor and director Arthur Elbakyan's "My Insane Shakespeare" continues its journey with its debut in Montréal. "My Insane Shakespeare" premiered December 4th, 2016 at the Théâtre Beaubois. Elbakyan presented his play to pay tribute to the renowned Canadian-Armenian sculptor and painter, member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Arto Tchakmakchian.

The world premiere of Elbakyan's highly anticipated play took place October 2014 at the world's largest solo theatre festival United Solo in New York City. It was sold-out months in advance and was the festival's bestseller. Written, directed, performed by Arthur Elbakyan "My Insane Shakespeare" won the prestigious United Solo Audience award created in partnership with Backstage Magazine.

Elbakyan plays the main character of the play, a man, who has been isolated from society for no reason and is locked up in a mental hospital against his own will, where he is being "treated". But "treated" for what? Betrayed by his closest friends and allies, the man faces both mental and physical suffering in his solitary confinement, where the search for answers begins.

"What is better, to be in a mental hospital among normal people or to be free among the insane? This is the question I ask in my play," says Arthur Elbakyan.

Analyzing love and hatred, life and vanity, the main character realizes that the line between the sane and insane has long been erased. In the midst of solitude and seclusion, his feelings and emotions begin to flow upon paper and canvas.

The Canadian debut of Elbakyan's "My Insane Shakespeare" also took place within the framework of the Hay Pem's first theatre festival as the theatre celebrates 40th anniversary. Hay Pem Theatre of the Tékéyan Armenian Cultural Association was founded in 1976 in Montréal. During the last 40 years, it has presented nearly thirty pieces.

Arthur Elbakyan is theatre, film, and television director, actor, writer, and producer. Having lived in Armenia, Russia, Europe and the United States, Elbakyan has played over 30 leading theatre roles and has been the author and host of numerous television shows. Elbakyan was the founder of the Theatre Studio "13" and also co-founded the first independent television channel in Armenia "AR". Elbakyan's passion for theatre was strong enough to bring theatre to television with his introduction of a series of television shows "It's Majesty Theatre" on the National Television of Armenia, taking the audience to the unique world of the theatre and performing arts. Elbakyan has received Best Documentary Short Award at the Los Angeles Film and Script Festival. Elbakyan is active member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Arto Tchakmakchian has created many notable sculptures and received many awards for his creations. In 1962 he received First Prize at the International Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition in Prague for his sculpture Reclining Figure". In 1984 he won First Prize in the Wilfrid Pelletier Competition in Montréal for his bust of the competition's namesake. The work is on permanent display in the entrance hall of Place des Arts in Montréal. His works have also been exhibited in famous museums internationally, particularly in the Louvre Museum. His most recent notable exhibition was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in 2010.