Hrant Alianak

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Lucky Strike

A man rushes into a deserted warehouse in North Africa, pursued by cops. He has a gun, a briefcase and a gut wound. He waits, tense, gun ready. The cop sirens disappear. He looks around, he slowly walks forward, trips over a low stack of bales, falls, his briefcase crashes open littering the warehouse with thousands of US dollar bills. He rushes to collect his money, his gut wound making it very difficult for him to move. He sits back for a moment, produces a pack of Luckys, takes one, sees he has only one match, puts it away. He looks at the strewn money. The police sirens can be heard approaching again. He makes a superhuman effort to collect his money, gun ready to fire.

Visions of his unfaithful moll and his partner in crime and their betrayal of him repeatedly collide in his crazed mind as he replays these last moments of his life. Flashbacks, flash-forwards, fantasy sequences, nightmares, surrealist imaginings, all collide to repeat a single scene over and over and over again with variations, extensions, illusions and hallucinations. Action packed, with very minimal dialogue and a wall to wall ear shattering soundtrack, this tense 70 minutes of jealousy, violence and rage collide in a wild frenzy of  choreographed pain, lost love and lost dreams.

Production History

Lucky Strike was first produced at Factory Theatre Lab, Toronto, October 1978 with the following cast:

Eddie- Booth savage
Charlie - Allan Aarons
Lolly - Janet Laine Green

Directed by Hrant Alianak
Sound Design by Terry Crack
Set and Light Design by Jim Plaxton
Stage Manager Mark Hammond

Lucky Strike toured to Café La Mama, New York City, June 1979 with the following cast:

Eddie - Jack Messinger
Charlie - Allan Aarons
Lolly - Mary Ethel Phelan

Directed by Hrant Alianak

Lucky Strike was first produced in England at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, January 1981 with the following cast:

Eddie - Peter Postlethwaite
Charlie - Neil Cunningham
Lolly - Margo

Directed by Hrant Alianak

And again at the ICA theatre in London in September 1981 with the following cast:

Eddie - Nicholas Ball
Charlie - Colin McCormack
Lolly - Sandy Ratcliff

Directed by Hrant Alianak

Selected Reviews

“Canadian ‘Lucky Strike’ is a hit. It was written and directed by Hrant Alianak, an Armenian born Canadian with a cult following that should pick up many local members with this dazzling debut”.    
New York Post

“Making History- ‘Lucky Strike’ is a stunningly original piece by a writer/director whom we must get to know. Hrant Alianak has distilled the conventions of a gangster film melodrama into a piece of theatre that is both myth and poem. – Stunningly original”.
 –The Soho Weekly News, NY.

“Hrant Alianak is obviously a man of few words. The first scripted words in his theatre piece, ‘Lucky Strike’, are 40 minutes in coming. The work is subtitled, or described, ‘A Hrant Alianak Feature’; indication enough that although the performance may be designed for the stage it is closer akin to the cinema, and Mr. Alianak uses all the non-verbal tricks of the form, dispensing with conversation to create a montage of crime-film clichés. - Mr. Alianak’s production is ceaselessly astonishing”.
The Times, UK.

“The resultant performance was so outside any experience of theatre – even avant-garde theatre - in Britain as to awake an unparalleled excitement and enthusiasm. – A startling evening. – The whole event is causing quite a rumpus in Mersey-side, it challenges the preconceptions of Liverpool’s theatre-going punters. Some, baffled or annoyed, walk out in protest, others return night after night as if to verify that this can really be happening”.
Performance Magazine, London; UK.

Publishing History

Lucky Strike was published by Playwrights Canada in 1989. ISBN 0-88754-472-X.

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