Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Theater in Tehran

My family was waiting for me at 7 pm in front of the City Theater Hall, in the center of Tehran. They had tickets for " Meeting with an elderly woman" . The play was written by Friedrich Durrenmatt a German playwriter and directed by Hamid Samandarian, a reknown Iranian director. Some Iranian celebrities like Gohar Kheirandish and Payam Dehkordi played major roles. Durrenmatt displayed his philosphical concern for the sale of human values like justice due to social pressures like poverty. The dramatic arts have always been favoured in Iran. More than 32 years ago , my late father used to take us to limited theater shows that were permitted during the Shah's regime. My father was an intellectual who enjoyed theater very much.
This year during the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, we had like the years before, two major art festivals in Iran , the Fajr (Dawn) Film Festival and the Fajr Theater Festival . There was alot of competition and controversy about the film festival; apparently the authorities had excluded some of the better films from the competition. I did not find the opportunity to see the festival films but I have heard alot about them.
The screening of this play , the professional playwriting and directing and the excellent performance all confirms the saying that ;"The Arts are with the Iranians Only" . Indeed in many respects, poetry, music, architecture, carpetweaving,painting and the modern arts film-making and theater Iranians have created masterpieces. After the Islamic Revolution, there was a great transformation in the film industry. The quality and conceptual content of films changed so that instead of violence and sex the Iranian film industry took a new spiritual and human direction. Many Iranian films have been screened in international festivals and many have been awarded. I think that certain ethical limitations have encouraged filmakers to take a different direction from their rivals in other countries. Could we say censorship in one direction opens new vistas in other dimensions!
We enjoyed the theater very much. When coming out some people recognized me and came up to talk. Many people from the Iranian world of cinema were there. I wish I had more time to take part in these artistic events.

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