Berge Vazilian: A brief biography|
A Turkish Armenian, Vazilian was born in 1926. He was into drawing as a child, and good enough at it that his father brought him a personal tutor to help develop his abilities at the age of 8. He also started an interest in the theater as a young child when he went to see a play for the children.
During the second world war, he worked in the amateur theater. He was 16 and with other young friends they formed a troupe started performing plays in a house using its kitchen as the makeup room.
Karl Ebert, escaping from Nazism in Germany, reached Turkey and established a private theater academy which Vazilian got in for four years. He suffered from racism and while his friends gradually got bigger roles, he was contained in the smaller ones. He was then advised by Mosen Ortogrol to leave the National Turkish Theater. Vazilian started thinking of leaving Turkey. He formed an Armenian troupe and presented the works of Sartre and Shaw. He was a draft in the army, and he was accused of working in the theater without permission. He was sentenced to prison for two years as well as another two years to serve in the military. He had also criticized the army in a number of drawings. Having a cousin living in Lebanon and knowing that Lebanon is an open and cultural country, he finally decided to escape there.
When he reached Lebanon, there was no real Lebanese theater. Vazilian founded a professional Armenian theater, and in the early sixties he decided to work in the Arabic language. After making a widely acclaimed play, he met Assy and Mansour through Onsy Elhajj. They were looking for a director at that time. Assy invited him to his office and along his wife Vazilian went to meet Assy and Fairuz.|
Vazilian agreed to work with the Rahbani brothers and on their condition that the works will be credited to Sabri ELsharif, and that Vazilian get an Artistic Supervisor credit. He began working in the Rings for Sale play, and later in Fakhereddine, Hala Welmalek and Ashakes plays. He also worked with them in the Safarbarlek and Bint Elharess movies. Vazilian became a very close friend of the Rahbanis. In the seventies and after Assy encountered the first health deterioration, ElSharif lost interest in work, and Vazilian was given full authority and he directed Elmahatta, Loulou and Mais Elrim which had an obvious distinctive look and feel.
The information in this article is based on a long interview with Vazilian that was published in Assafir newspaper.