Saturday, November 10, 2007

Iran Theater

Tehran City Theatre: built in 1934-7
Architect: Amir-Ali Sardar Afkhami

No I don't mean the passion-play between Cheney and Ahmadi-Nejad.
I mean an actual theater community inside Iran.

Chant This Season With Me, Musical.
Director: Hossein Parsai
Composer: Majid Entezami
(Watch a clip of Makhmalbaf's film celebrating Iran's 100 years of cinema, with Entezami's score)

Here's an old article from
At the juncture of modernity and tradition, at the interstices of time immemorial and the political reality of the moment, the Iranian society is witnessing a movement whose demands will determine the fruitfulness of the artistic future of the country. ...

At no time in modern Iranian history has the country been witness to such a surge in cultural activity. This, of course, is not an objective evaluation, but a simple observation.

To stop only at one example, the City Theater has so many shows ready to be staged that it is hard to keep up with new ones appearing. The notorious bureaucratic disorder that is in place actually ends up shuffling and bungling many of them to the point where earlier in the year the director of BLOOD WEDDING, Ali Rafii, threatened to abort the show (written by Garcia Lorca and translated by Shamloo, and staged for a second time in the past year) because, he complained, interjections by other programs (notably Shahram Nazeri's concert in November) affected a discontinuity in the group's performance. He didn't make good on his threat, and the audience kept coming back for more, so to speak, turning the show into a box-office triumph.

The success of DANDOON TALA, a play by the renowned film director Davood Mirbaqery, has pre-empted the showing of THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI, a play by Bertolt Brecht, which was scheduled to start at primetime in late December, but which was instead slotted to 4 pm with much delay. According to the press, DANDOON TALA has been the biggest moneymaker in Iranian theater history, raking in over 7 billion rials over a period of eight months.

Since two years ago, the City Theater has opened two smaller stages: the Qashqaii, and earlier this month, the House of Khorshid. Both are low capacity and easily sell out.

Merry theatrical matrimonies have also been consummated in the prolific dominion of Ataollah Mohajerani. A particularly effective one seems to be the 1997-established PARCHIN which boasts Bahram Beyzaii as a member, but also well know directors like Hamid Amjad, Mohammad Rahmanian, and actors like Mojdeh Shamsaii, Mahtab Nasirpour, and Habib Rezaii. Other groups like NARGESS SIAH (currently staging Genet's LES NĂˆGRES in the House of Khorshid) are also worth mentioning.

Twenty years into the Revolution of 1979, the Iranian theater is more alive than ever. Though overshadowed heavily by its more prosperous visual associate in the film industry, the theater is making it dent in ways that can be said to silverline a dramatic promise in the cultural scene of the country. Perhaps it is not too farfetched to expect a cultural renaissance of sorts in the space that has opened since the election of Mohammad Khatami into office.

When the Iranian president of the time was making progress by bounds and leaps in promoting cultural productivity, he did it on the premise of "dialogue of civilizations". He also was trying hard for reconciliation with the US. At that time, Washington dismissed him to be just a "figure" with no executive power. Thus his pleas for peace were dismissed.

It is curious how the US has started to take the "presidential figure" of Iran seriously "now" with Ahmadinejad, who a) won election as dubiously as did Bush and b)is openly challenged by the Supreme Leadeship of Iran! Don't you think?

So is it too far fetched to imagine that the West and Israel are more afraid of a beautiful and free Iran, therefore more determined to oppress a democratic Iran; and that fanticism serves their interest better?!


Amre El-Abyad said...

That muust a source of national pride. Iran has got a theatre LOL.

In Iraq and Egypt, Syria we had theatres since the 19th centuries. But I dont think that qualifies as s ource of natiojnal pride, although we had many noble prize laurettes.

That country Iran is indeed very strange. Bush musrt do something about it very quickly

Naj said...

Amre el-abayad says:

(he usually deletes his commens after his episode of jealousy-induced psychosis is over!)

"That muust a source of national pride. Iran has got a theatre LOL.

In Iraq and Egypt, Syria we had theatres since the 19th centuries. But I dont think that qualifies as s ource of natiojnal pride, although we had many noble prize laurettes.

That country Iran is indeed very strange. Bush musrt do something about it very quickly

:) some little miserable's ego is hurt again!

Amro, maybe instead of checking my blog every 20 mins (you are taking too much space on my site-meter list) you should go promote your Arabic culture buddy. Huh?!

Naj said...


Did you know Mohammad AlBaradei is Egyptian?!

I am baffled how Egypt can have produced TRASH like you! You need help!

Amre El-Abyad said...

Well, Mohamed El-Barade3i is a disgrace to the Arab nation. Because he defended the Iranian murderers of our Arab brothers in Iraq. Hasnt he heared of the Iran crimes in Iraq or the Iranian hatred and grudg of Arab history and culture which surpasses their trivial one by far

That country which is working its best to dismantle and weaken the oldest nation on earth- Iraq.

What a shame?

RickB said...

This makes some very sinister sense, what the US wants is a pet regime that they can pretend is 'democracy' but is a client regime managing oil extraction for them. If they let real democracy evolve that would not be so friendly to the extreme capitalist model of oil contracts the US like to use(Bush/Cheney is the big oil administration if ever there was one, plus peak oil makes them want to lock up all supply for themselves with the added bonus of screwing China, whereas sane people would be funding other energy and research with the billions that are now wasted on securing a resource that endangers global survival). So they want to push Iran into a corner then implement their verison of a post IRI state probably involving much violence. Israel will help with that bit. But they don't have the ground force capability to take on Iran's army so they need to create a narrative where bombing is the 'humanitarian' WMD preventing option hence the concentration on nuke paranoia and the promotion of Ahmadinejad from also ran to Lord Emperor VaderSauron of Darkness run for your lives he's going to blow up Albuquerque!

PS. THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI was put on in the US also of late as it is very much about a demagogue and the failure of people to resist, I think even Al Pacino was in one production making some not so subtle digs at Bush.

Anonymous said...

How's this for a theatre of hypocrisy

A.N. Iraqi

nunya said...

By "the West and Israel" I'm assuming you mean the political leadership, but frankly Naj, sometimes it's hard to tell with you. You pissed me off enough to create this post.

The more I slog through the Trita Parsi book, the more I am reminded of this scene from the movie "Network."

How about you translate it into Persian, Amre can translate it into Arabic, and then we can all sit in stunned silence and have a cup of tea (or coffee) together. Why?

Because truth be known, we three are probably more like Beale than the other dude, eh?


nunya said...

Oh yeah, this is the most famous scene from Network, it should be watched before the other one Mad as Hell

Naj said...

A. N. Iraqi
Thanks for the link. It is SHOCKING. I loaded it up on the other blog!

Sorry I don't know how I pissed you off. But I don't apologize for holding a nation of 300,000,000 people for their self-righteous attitude towards the world, while suffering MCD, calling themselves free and democratic, and allowing their government wrecj havoc in teh world for the past 6o years, PERPETUALLY!!

I have my enlightened American friends, with whom I converse, but judging from what gets a rite of passage on FOX news, in Washington and everywhere else, (watch A. N. Iraqi's video) I am not too impressed by American's world-savvyness!

Yes I do look down on America's ignorance, and yes I do BLAME the shit of the world on a nation of juveniles with big guns! Puppets and also the slaves of the capitalism!

Naj said...

RE translating Parsi's book to Persian ... he is not telling Iranians anything that they don't already know!

And I am sure it is already translated and circulated in Iran!

nunya said...

Naj Naj Naj


Slow down and don't scream about ignorance. Click on the links in the post I made special for you, you might learn something.

P'rhaps I wasn't clear about the translation request. It was for the "Network" movie scene, not the book. I'm sure if there was a market in Iran for the book, Parsi could translate it himself.

I can't believe you take Fox Newz clips seriously. It's simply the American version of Iran's hateful mullah's rhetoric. A tool to mobilize those stupid enough to buy it. A rather small percentage of the population, yes?

nunya said...

Naj, you need to dig a little deeper than Faux Newz.

Potrero only has about 900 residents and it's a 45 minute drive from the population center of San Diego.
stop blackwater west protest
hope this blogger is OK
The fire that started in Potrero (Harris fire) on Oct 21 is still under investigation.

One of the protest organizers lost her business partner in the fire.

Blackwater protesters arrested

Blackwater looks like a hero in the msm

Naj said...

Nunya ...
Of course I don't take fauks news seriously! But that is a "money-making" entity ... it has an AUDIENCE. you and I are not one of those, but you and I are not also war mongers ... my target of criticism is those who WATCH/ENJOY fox!

UPRISING: show me America's "revolution". It is way over due!

ahmad sardar said...

The Theatre-e Shahr or city theatre was designed by architect Amir ali Sardar-afkhami and not Gabriel Guevrekian. and it was built in the 70's.

Naj said...


Thank you so much for pointing out the mistake; and thank you for visiting my blog.

I have corrected the credit.