Armenian Culture, Science and Education Development Foundation

I Wish to Die Singing review – a searing account of the Armenian genocide

I wish to die singing

As The guardian reviews, Neil McOherson’s documentary drama is subtitled “Voices from the Armenian genocide”. Its purpose is clearly to remind us of the mass slaughter and deportation of Armenians in 1915 and to persuade us to petition the Turkish government to acknowledge the word “genocide”. It is a powerful piece, even if, in 90 minutes, the historical background can only be briefly portrayed.
McPherson does, in fact, provide a narrator (Jilly Bond) who sketches in the story of the Ottoman empire’s collapse, the rise of Turkish nationalism and the perception of the Armenians as a threat to the state. But the focus is on the killing and deportation of Armenians that began in April 1915 and on the tragedies that ensued. We are, rightly, spared no detail of the savage cruelties inflicted on women and children, nor of the horrors of the trek across a thousand miles of desert that only a few miraculously survived.
The testimony is searing and there is a sardonic postscript in which we are reminded that not only does modern Turkey make use of the word “genocide” a punishable offence, but also that many other countries, including our own, refuse to recognise the term. McPherson’s play, soberly directed by Tommo Fowler and well acted by a seven-strong cast including Tom Marshall, Tamar Karabetyan and Simon Yadoo, may help to change that – it movingly achieves what it sets out to do.


Source: Theguardian.com

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