What's it about?
The play Gregorian follows a family from 1919 to 2005, painting their family history and individual experiences throughout the century. Generations of this family have had to live through the Armenian genocide, the Nazi Party’s rule, and so much more. All they could rely on were their cultural roots, and the promise of better days.
What'd I experience?
Whenever I see a show that I feel is rooted in a particular culture or family dynamic, I can't help but compare it to my own experiences with my culture and family. Sometimes, I just want to run away from it all because thinking about it feels so complicated and it’s so much to explain to curious people who want to know why I get so flustered when they ask me where I’m from. People think they can tell a lot about me and where I come from based on my name, or based on the facial features I have. But those things reveal relatively nothing about me and it never gets any less irritating.
I can type in my name and be a quick Google away from finding out who in my area I may or may not be related to. It’s what a total stranger would be able to dig up on me and my family, and it’s what I know about me and my family. I don’t come from a family with a strong and firm tradition of talking about our great-great grandparents’ accomplishments or triumphs, because we don’t even know if they had any.
I know my ancestors suffered, but I don’t know exactly how they suffered. Caste? Religion? Imperialism? Actually, they definitely suffered from all of those things, but I will never have the stories of exactly what my family members went through. It’s like, now I want each family I descend from to have their own scenes in a play, showing me what it was like living through various periods of time, living in various hemispheres, living through various pains.
I am not exactly haunted by my family history, like the family in Gregorian, but that's only because I know so little about it. I wonder if my ignorance is actually a blessing, or if it’s just sad that I don’t know my family’s stories. What if my forefathers had done something terrible in the past? What if their experiences parallel my present experiences?
I have no way of knowing for sure, all I can do is rely on statistics and studies on the general Indo-Guyanese experience back in the days when Guyana was still a colony-- but I don’t think I’d ever be able to go farther back than that, or know anything specific. I had never been entirely sure if I'd want to know everything. But I think we all deserve to know what and where we come from, even if it’s not the prettiest story.
My current family name is just a name that was given to me, as far as I know. Although, like in Gregorian, there could be a burden within a name that follows your family for generations, I’d still like the luxury of knowing exactly who I’m related to. It would be kind of cool to refer to my entire lineage as one big clan with one name.
Even if it’s bad, because of Gregorian, I kind of want to know everything my family has gone through. My heritage is still mine, and whether or not it was tragic, I still wish I knew all the gory details. If my family has suffered, I want to make their suffering, and their perseverance through their suffering, worth it.