Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chahar Shambeh (Wednesday)

Birthday party for the Italian Cultural Attaché - his daughter takes in the spread

1) My new eye glasses were stolen yesterday, i realize. Pickpocketed in the Bazaar. This will make all the theatre a bit blurry now.

2) I meet with a young Iranian woman, Leila, to give her advice on theatre-making and marketing. She and her husband are working in a town near Tehran that has only had theatre for four years.

3) I meet with an American/British dual citizen (she's traveling under her British passport). She studied at Lispa in London (a Lecoq school), and speaks a fair bit of Farsi. She's friends with a bunch of my Philly friends - and it's nice to speak English with a native speaker! We're gonna hang a bit.

4) I meet with two Iranians from Max theatre, including director Reza Servati. This is the team who produced the wonderfully ambitious Bouffon show I saw two nights ago. We chat about touring, and the further development of the show. I hope they can bring it to Toronto, some time. Our city has seen nothing like it.

5) On the way to the first of today's theatres, I hear about this morning's demonstration ("By the other side" - says an old man). This was the regime using the funeral of the two fallen young people from Feb 14, and coopting their deaths as pro-regime martyrdoms. 

6) Two shows today. Italian (small-scale and good) and Iranian (beyond bad - a play that was horrendous, literally laughable melodrama, about a pre-revolutionary general and his family, this was state-sanctioned drama, telling a story about a monstrous man who tears his own family apart by having ordered an attack on his own people in which many were killed, this was back before the revolution of course - but - um - wait a minute…). 

7) Italian birthday party in North Tehran with a whole gaggle of Italians - either living in Iran, or touring to the festival. Boisterous. Fun. Interesting talks - especially one with a man who works in Iran for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and one with a marvellously articulate Iranian woman. The topic often turns to the state of the country, and speculation about how long the status quo can last, and, if anything changes, what the cost in blood might be.

I share a bus back to the hotel with a large and fantastically animated Italian contingent. Back to my room. Sleep. 

I am meeting fascinating people in a terrifying place.

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