The Saroyan Conference continued with reports given to small groups by the writer’s relatives, Hank Saroyan and Jackie Kazarian, who gave both personal and professional stories about the author, and others who had known the writer on a professional basis or who had studied his works, this taking place at the Picasso hall at the Congress Hotel. Another cousin, Bruce Janigian, in his talk, related the story of when General Andranik arrived in Fresno and went to Aram Saroyan’s office, where he met with Uncle Aram, as he was known, and a young William Saroyan. When General Andranik asked Saroyan what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered, “A writer,” to which Uncle Aram stated, “I’m already a writer. I write checks.”
Closing the day’s presentations, Garegin Chukaszyan presented the beginnings of an interactive website about Saroyan, a site which promises to be on the level of Chukaszyan’s organization “Internet Technology Education” CD-ROMs about Aram Khachatryan and the Armenian Genocide, both of which won international acclaim.
After meeting with several friends, old and new, from Fresno, everyone went to lunch before attending the evening’s presentation of Saroyan’s Hello Out There, at the Chamber Music Theatre and directed by Davit Hakobyan. The highlight of the operetta/ballet was the bass singer from the National Opera, who played the part of the character unable to escape from prison. Besides his fine singing, we watched with amazement as mediocre dancers pranced around the stage, further amazed by the way the story was changed and how it didn’t end at all in the style Saroyan intended, not to mention a music score that definitely won’t be something remembered. Fortunately for Saroyan, he wasn’t present, or he likely would have joined the culture minister official who, not holding back, told us and others nearby what a fiasco we had just witnessed.