‘Beast on the Moon’ tells a love story in unlikely circumstances

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LONG BEACH — “Beast on the Moon,” a bittersweet love story about two survivors of the Armenian genocide that is a universal tale of hope, healing and redemption, opens next month for a three-week run at International City Theatre in Long Beach.

Directed by caryn desai [sic], the production opens Aug. 23 with performances at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

Richard Kalinoski’s haunting and poetic play was inspired by the story of his ex-wife’s grandparents, survivors of the 1915 massacre of 1.5 million Armenians, citizens of the Ottoman Empire, by the Turks.

Set in 1920s Milwaukee, “Beast on the Moon” follows the lives of Aram, an Armenian immigrant earning his living as a photographer, and Seta, Aram’s teenage mail-order bride -- polar opposites who have one tragic experience in common.

“Aram believes he will begin a new life when Seta arrives to join him in America,” explained Kalinoski in an interview. “They are a couple united in history — each the only one in their family to survive the genocide. But their painful shared experience does nothing to promote domestic harmony. Aram is obsessed with creating a family to replace the one he lost in such savage circumstances; Seta, just 15 and trapped by the traditions of the old ways, struggles to embrace her new life in a new country.”

“Beast on the Moon” runs Aug. 23 through Sept. 8 with performances Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $47.