The first major cultural event held since the start of the coronavirus epidemic, French Armenian actor and director Simon Abkarian’s play ‘Électre des bas-fonds’ won three awards at the 32nd Molière theatre awards, the highest French theatre honor, per the Huffington Post.
For the very first time, the ceremony was broadcasted in the early part of the evening on France2, after being pre-recorded over four days before a handful of nominees. And despite a room empty of all public, the professionals of the sector were enthusiastic.
“The artists are moved even without decorum. They are caught off guard because normally it is something that you share with a whole room that trembles,” comments to AFP the president of Molières Jean-Marc Dumontet who had insisted that this ceremony be held to “put the theater back in the spotlight.”
“Without artists, life would be deadly. And theater is like original sin, it reproduces, and it will rise again,” added director Simon Abkarian, whose play turned out to be a huge success.
Abkarian’s ″Electre des bas-fonds,” which was playing at Ariane Mnouchkine’s Théâtre du Soleil, won the Molière in public theater, while Simon Abkarian won the awards for his performance as director and as the French-speaking author.
In 2001 he starred in Beast on the Moon by Richard Kalinoski, directed by Irina Brook, a play about the life of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, a role which won him critical acclaim and the Molière Award for Best Actor.
Abkarian then played Mehdi Ben Barka in the thriller J’ai vu tuer Ben Barka by Serge Le Péron, about the kidnapping and the murder of the leader of the Moroccan opposition. He then played in Prendre Femme by Ronit Elkabetz which won him several acting awards. Playing different roles and in different genres, he was featured in the adventure Zaïna, cavalière de l’Atlas by Bourlem Guerdjou, in the comedy Le Démon de midi by Marie-Pascale Osterrieth. He has also appeared in Atom Egoyan’s Ararat (2002), he was Albert in Almost Peaceful (2004) by French director Michel Deville, and he was featured in Your Dreams (2005) by Denis Thybaud. He was featured as Sahak in the thriller Les Mauvais Joueurs (“The Gamblers”) (2005) by Frédéric Balekdjian. He played the role of villain Alex Dimitrios in the James Bond film, Casino Royale. The character is an arms dealer working against Bond.
He has also been the voice of Ebi in the French version of the animated feature Persepolis. Abkarian played the role of the Armenian poet Missak Manouchian in The Army of Crime (2010) by Robert Guédiguian, a French filmmaker based in Marseilles, who is also of Armenian parentage.