Saturday, February 12, 2011

Later that Shambeh

Students waiting outside the National Treasury Museum

Two museums:

1) National Museum. Many pots, figurines and a few statues from pre-Islamic Persia. Most gruesome award: a severed head found in a salt mine. Most interesting: a clay cylinder on loan from the British Museum, that has carved on its surface, the first declaration of human rights known to history (585 BC - aka the CYlinder of Cyrus). My favourite: a tiny head with sunken cheeks and deep eyes carved in ivory, which was then burned in a fire - rendering the head black, stark and moving. A face trapped in fire, several thousand years old.

2) National treasury. Ridiculous. The Persian Crown jewels make the English Crown Jewels look like a toy store. I saw the biggest pink diamond in the world (182 carats), plus insanely jewel-encrusted swords, necklaces, brooches, crowns, egg cups (cause who wouldn't want to eat eggs from rubies?), and, yes, a diamond-encrusted umbrella (given to a Persian empress from Catherine, Queen of Russia). All this - like the oil Iran now has - in a place unable to feed its citzenry.

City Theatre, Tehran

Two shows:

1) A text-driven piece about an Afghan farmer who marries and Iranian woman, and they lose a son to a landmine, then run afoul of the Iranian immigration police. They end up living in no-man's land between the two countries. 

2) A playwright/director/auteur/symbolism-driven piece about a twin who surveys a fire, his mother, and his fiance. Which twin IS he? Why is he dying NOW? Why won't he get in the bathtub full of BLOOD? The set boasted a beautiful black tile floor - my favourite part of the show. 

Also met a brace of foreigners today, including fellow cannucks Michael Green (from Calgary) and Heather Redfern (from Vancouver). 

Oh, and I learned, 24 hours late, about Mubarek stepping down in Egypt. This happened while i was in transit yesterday. Strangely, no one is talking about it here. Yet we've been warned that we might want to leave our hotel early on Monday, so as not be cut off from the theatres by the demonstration. I am very curious to see what happens...

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