Sevan Dulgarian Personifies Ghandi Role
By Tom Vartabedian
BEDFORD, Mass.—As the pre-eminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India, Mahatma Ghandi led his country to independence and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights, and freedom across the world.
‘Greater Boston’ AYFer Sevan Dulgarian is making quite an impression on stage and song.
What would it take to portray such an icon on stage? Just ask Sevan Dulgarian. The “Greater Boston” Chapter AYFer not only characterized the role but spearheaded it to a national high school competition in Maryland this past June.
Typically, the part would go to a male student but Sevan was so convincing at auditions, she landed the role and turned it into high acclaim for Bedford High School, where she is an incoming senior.
The 17-year-old certainly did her homework. She studied the Ben Kingsley movie; interviewed Ghandi’s grandson (Arun) by e-mail, along with Dennis Dalton, a history professor who met several of Ghandi’s colleagues; wrote the script; fabricated true-to-life sets and costumes; and fashioned an Indian accent to perfect the role.
What developed was a 10-minute masterpiece that won her a standing ovation during National History Day at her school. The production went on to garner first place in both the regionals and state competition before finding its way to the University of Maryland for the nationals.
The event focused on a National History Day theme, “Revolution, Reaction, and Reform in History.” Six months of preparation went into refining the show.
“A lot of peacemakers were inspired by Ghandi,” said Sevan. “He changed the world and how people think about revolution. He also emphasized how goals can truly become accomplished without violence. It sets an example for people around the world today.”
Applause followed the show wherever it was performed. In each case, a panel of judges gave it high marks, swayed by Sevan’s brisk and demanding delivery. Four other girls joined the cast—students enrolled in top level history classes at her school—including a half-Armenian girl named Amanda Luniewicz.
Just prior to the Ghandi portrayal, Sevan played the lead role in a musical called “Once on this Island,” an adaptation of “The Little Mermaid,” set in Haiti. In it, she portrayed the part of Ti Moune, an orphan saved by the gods for something special.
The performance featured calypso-flavored music and dancing, not to exclude an enchanting script. Sevan’s younger sister Araz also appeared in the little girl version of the lead role. Both girls are the daughters of Stepan and Maral Dulgarian.
Sevan is also quite adept in the classroom, where she’s a member of the National Honor Society. In addition to the Drama Club, she also belongs to the Red Cross Club and runs cross country.
At her school’s “A Cappella Night,” she received a rousing ovation for the Armenian song “Geligia.” She belted out the same song at a genocide commemoration this past April in Merrimack Valley. No doubt the voice training she receives with the youth choir each week at the New England Conservatory in Boston is providing dividends.
As if all this doesn’t suffice, Sevan is training to compete in the upcoming AYF Olympics being hosted by her “Greater Boston” chapter.