With the initiative of UNIMA-Armenia the concluding festival of the project “Puppets for Peace and Friendship” took place in Yerevan on September 17.
The event was fun and cheerful – the kids fully enjoyed this colorful festival and the company of amazing puppets dancing right in the center of Yerevan.
I went over with my family. My dad, one of the top puppeteers in Armenia, had brought over his famous marionette – “Poloz Mukuch,” which is a reincarnation of one of Gyumri’s most famous figures․ You can see it dancing in the video above.
Searching information on Poloz Mukuch I discovered, that there’s very little about him online and decided to get down some of the basic facts, since people in Gyumri often refer to parents house as the house of Poloz Mukuch because of his famous puppet.
The “Tall” Mukuch
Mkrtich Melqonian (aka Poloz Mukuch) was born in 1881 in Alexandrapol (now Gyumri) to a family of a craftsman.He has been the classmate of great Armenian poet Avetik Isahakian.
The people of Gyumri, known for their love of felicitous nicknames, called him “Poloz” for being very tall.
The man used to be a wholesale trader (մեյվի փոդրաթչի), who brought fruits and vegetables from Yerevan, Tbilisi and sold it to little shops around Gyumri. But that’s not what made him famous in Gyumri and throughout Armenia, nor was it his love of alcoholic beverages, even though it is all related.
The thing is, Poloz Mukuch was a very calm, balanced and I daresay – wise man while sober, but he rarely was… and when drunk, he changed beyond recognition. Poloz Mukuch became known for his jokes and tales, which spread around the country and became fables and anecdotes. And yet, there was always this air of wisdom about his jokes, which makes him special.
Poloz Mukuch was a bachelor throughout his life and left no family behind as he died at the age of 50. There are tales about his burial in a cold February day (February 15, 1931) – which show just how well known and well respected the man was. His obituary was published in “Soviet Armenia” newspaper, which was the mouthpiece of the Communist Party’s Central body in Armenia. And the ceremony was attended by a huge crowd from Gyumri, neighboring towns and even Yerevan and Tbilisi.
The jokes and anecdotes tied to name of Poloz Mukuch are circulated even today and I would say, that this Mkrtich Melqonian “tall” tales have had a significant impact on the development of oral humor culture in Armenia.
Photo and facts from here.