Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Eve of Departure

The day before the trip. St. John's, Nfld.

Tomorrow i travel to Iran, and the 29th Fadjr International Theatre Festival. My starting point is St. John's Newfoundland - where I am, at the moment, about to see the opening of Oil and Water, an Artistic Fraud show that has garnered much anticipation, nationally. Some thoughts on the eve of departure:

1) It's tough getting information out of the festival: it's been a litany of missed communication, and unanswered questions. An airline ticket with the wrong dates was bought for me, and a new one finally arrived this morning - the day before I travel. Nerve wracking.

2) The festival is enormous. I will be seeing only a small part of it - the shows that make up the International Competition - 19 productions from six countries (Iran, Italy, Germany, Estonia, Czech Republic and South Korea). There are many shows NOT in this competition - both Persian and International (including a Peter Stein show, a Romeo Castelluci show, and an opera from Beijing - none of which I will be able to see, sadly).

3) The politics are complicated. From what I can gather, Iran is a place of factions. Today, a permit to demonstrate was denied the opposition, who wanted to honour (and build upon?) the recent demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt. It was to begin near my hotel on Monday, Feb 14. We'll see if anything materializes, despite the ban. 

4) Some Iranian artists have already contacted me by email, hoping to meet, and persuade me to see their shows. In that sense, it is like Edinburgh (for example). But with the proviso that these artists rarely get to meet international practitioners. Just as I rarely get to meet Iranian theatre artists. I look forward to this exchange, and have no real idea of what will happen, nor what lies ahead...

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