“Varma’s work will not be easily forgotten, and it is an important exercise in raising awareness of the story of the Armenians in Turkey. This play humanizes this part of history, and shows us how, in the words of Sahana, ‘hatred is an acid that will burn through its container.’ ” —Chris Lane, Charlebois Post
“State of Denial is by far Rahul Varma’s best work as a playwright since Bhopal. Most astonishing is that he has mastered the voices of women in crises and in extremis with elegance and poetic savagery.” —Anna Fuerstenberg, Rover Arts
“Varma’s writing and pacing here has never been sharper or more layered.” —Neil Boyce, The Mirror
“I had known about the Armenian genocide for decades. But just as a fact. State of Denial took me beyond the fact into the (in)human experience of it and gave me a much deeper understanding of that painful history.” — Shelley Tepperman, dramaturge
“When we have been silenced, unjustly misinterpreted, hated for whatever reason, giving voice remains one agent of change and healing. The power of a voice that counters the delusion of denial is the strength of this play.” —Jaswant Guzder, transcultural psychiatrist
Odette is a young Rwandan–Canadian filmmaker who has travelled to Turkey to investigate stories of genocide and hidden identity for an upcoming documentary. When she interviews Sahana, an elderly Muslim woman who has spent her life assisting survivors of the Armenian genocide, Odette uncovers a devastating secret that she resolves to share with the world at any cost, even if it means exposing her own shocking past.
Rahul Varma is a playwright, artistic director of Teesri Duniya Theatre, and co-founder of alt.theatre: cultural diversity and the stage. He writes both in Hindi and English, a language he acquired as an adult. Some of his other plays include Land Where the Trees Talk, No Man’s Land, Trading Injuries (a radio drama), and Truth and Treason. His plays have been translated into French, Italian, Hindi, and Punjabi. Rahul is the recipient of a special Juror’s Award from the Quebec Drama Federation, a Montreal English Critic’s Circle Award for promoting Interculturalism, and the South Asian Theatre Festival Award.