Chmshkian, Georg Arutiunovich
Born Mar. 7 (19), 1837, in Tbilisi; died Dec. 28,1915 (Jan. 10,1916), in Petrograd. Armenian actor, stage director, and theatrical figure.
Chmshkian, who first appeared on the stage in Tbilisi in 1862, helped establish the Armenian professional theater in that city. One of the best educated men of his time, he was a man of progressive views. He was the first to stage and popularize the works of Shakespeare and Moliere on the Armenian stage, as well as the Russian classics, especially the plays of N. V. Gogol and A. N. Ostrovskii. He translated Russian and French plays and wrote vaudevilles, comedies, and dramas, including The Teacher (1890).
Chmshkian was a friend and colleague of the playwright G. M. Sundukian and was regarded as the best interpreter of roles in Sundukian’s plays. The professional association of the two furthered the establishment of realism and a reform of the Armenian theater. Chmshkian’s company toured in many cities of Transcaucasia with large Armenian populations. In 1879 he invited into his company several outstanding Armenian actors who were then performing in Constantinople, including P. Adamian and Sirandish.
Chmshkian’s best roles were Othello and Shylock in Shakespeare’s Othello and The Merchant of Venice, the title role in Sundukian’s Pepo, and Krechinskii in Sukhovo-Kobylin’s Krechinskii’s Wedding.