Sunrise Suprises – A Play in 2 Acts by Vic Bagratuni

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Elizabeth is about to finish her dissertation. She is very much in love with her girlfriend and their life together. But then her brother and his best friend show up-they are on the run. Their arrival forces Elizabeth to confront her past and finally make a choice about the kind of person she wants to be. A waking nightmare in which fears and memories become actual and the psychological becomes all too real. A Play by: Lucy Thurber

Performed at New York’s Monroe Theater this January, Sunrise Surprises served as a stellar follow-up to Vic Bagratuni’s previous playwriting debut, The Strasberg Legacy. Directed by Nick Dorman and starring Bagratuni as Danny, the actor’s second play has been optioned as a pilot for Amazon.

Elizabeth is about to finish her dissertation. She is very much in love with her girlfriend and their life together. But then her brother and his best friend show up-they are on the run. Their arrival forces Elizabeth to confront her past and finally make a choice about the kind of person she wants to be. A waking nightmare in which fears and memories become actual and the psychological becomes all too real. A Play by: Lucy Thurber
The story: In love with her girlfriend and their life together, graduate student Liza is contentedly finishing her dissertation. At least until her brother and his best friend Danny (Bagratuni) show up on the run. Their on-the-lam arrival forces Liza to confront her past and make a choice about just who she is and who she wants to be. With fears and memories becoming all-too-real, it’s a psychological nightmare that digs deep into Liza’s psyche.

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From handsome leading man to stone cold killer, Bagratuni always dreamt of being an actor, and began performing at the tender age of five. He is very much a method actor, using sense memory to find his own voice. His writing has paved the way to create a fully rounded artistic experience. It took him two years to write, and he describes Sunrise Surprises as rooted in a longing for his own family connections.

He sees his writing as an extension of his belief that actors are true storytellers. “Our purpose is to reveal and serve the truth of the imaginary world provided by the playwright or the script. We have to bring it to life. Start internally from the soul and work your way to the external behavior and mannerisms.” As an actor and writer, Bagratuni endeavors to take his audience on “an emotional roller coaster.” Come along for the ride.

An Interview with Actor/Writer Vic Bagratuni

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Haven’t heard of Vic Bagratuni? You will. Having seen this compelling actor’s stage performances twice, we reached out for an interview with Bagratuni for some insight into his current and former roles – and future plans.

Bagratuni followed a family legacy when he began his acting career. “My grandfather and great-grandfather were leading figures in acting and directing in the former Soviet Union. To live up to this legacy I was determined to become an actor.” He took part in productions in Germany and New York, where he studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute under Strasberg proteges Lola Cohen, Geoffrey Horne, Paul Calderon and Vincent D’Onofrio, as well as at the Actors Studio before moving to Los Angeles.

His favorite role thus far was being cast in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street. Scorsese is somewhat of an idol to Bagratuni. “Being in the film made me a better actor to be honest, and I’m humbled to have been given the experience.”

However, the role was not his most challenging. “I’ve taken on parts in independent productions that vary from challenges like learning sign language up to a level to carry on a conversation about philosophy in Waiting for a Train, and portraying a character who suffers from schizophrenia and is simultaneously dying of cancer in the play Parallel Stages. To create those characters, I had to dig deep.”

Bagratuni has new roles coming up including a role in Men of Granite starring Shirley MacLaine and William Hurt. The project is based on a true story about a high school basketball team that wins the State Championship. He’s also been cast in a television series, The Good Season, and collaborated on the independent project Sam’s Box, which has been making waves on the festival circuit.

“I’ve also been focusing on creating my own original content in theater and film, so I’m in the process of securing funding,” he relates.

His dream project? “My absolute dream would be a collaboration with Scorsese on The Irish Man or Sinatra.”

For inspiration, Bagratuni turns poetry, nature, music, and people watching. “ I like to observe human behavior and reproduce it artistically in my work.” The film that most influenced him is On the Waterfront; Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Robert Mitchum remain favorite actors.

Although his training is in classical theater and his stage performances are electric, currently living in LA, Bagratuni sees himself doing more work in film and TV for now. “Of course I am staying open for whatever comes along,” he attests.

  • Genie Davis

The Strasberg Legacy – A play in 2 Acts written by Vic Bagratuni

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Not every young actor can successful star in and write an intense dramatic production, but Vic Bagratuni pulled off both roles as part of The Emerging Playwright Unit December 2015 at The Lee Strasberg Theater in New York. Starring as Gino, Bagratuni turned in a raw and vital performance in a solid drama directed by Allen B. Ford, The Strasberg Legacy.

The play takes viewers on a trip to Torre di Largo, Italy, with Gino (Bagratuni) and his family. Concerned by the nationalism he perceives in his travels, father Vito is appalled by the performance of a hypnotist named Luparello, who uses his mental powers to control his audience. Representing the control authoritarian leaders in Europe had over their followers, Luparello misuses his power, in an attempt to overcome his own strident inferiority. When Gino falls under Luparello’s sway, Vito is driven to violence. In the end, a native of the region kills the hypnotist, in a cathartic act that not only liberates Gino and his family, but also frees the audience from its role as followers of Luparello.

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An interesting concept that draws viewers into a metaphor for a political scenario all too relevant in our own current primary election landscape, it’s Bagratuni’s intense performance that elevates the production into something mesmerizing.