Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Seh Shambeh (Tuesday): at the Theatre, and after…

Sanah Jaleh and Mohammed Moktari - the two young men killed in yesterday's demonstration (source: http://doveshumanrights.tumblr.com/)

3 plays today. 2 were not so good - a Czech offering on European politics using sound poetry and staccato movement (a 10 minute idea spun into a painful hour of malfunctioning microphones, and indulgence), and an Italian riff on the Trojan Women that was half folk music meets Ornette Coleman, and half over-emoting.

The third show was very good. An Iranian production of a Jean-Claude Carriere play about an Informant and a Commissar - a lovely text-driven piece about how a police state eats its own children. Well- acted, directed and designed - maybe the acting was a little too heightened, but that might be a taste driven by my own theatre culture. In general, the level of the festival has been that of a Fringe or University festival, but this was finally a polished professional show.

In between, there was talk about the killings yesterday. One of the two dead was a student of Drama at the Art University here in Tehran - Sanah Jaleh. One of my fellow jurors was his professor. There are two versions of his death - one that the young man was in the Sepah, or private state army, and was felled by an unknown assailant - possibly a foreigner. And the other was that he was in opposition to the regime, and killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The first is the official version - perhaps to take away the possibility of a martyr for the opposition. I do not know which is true. Whatever the case - the young man was in third year - and several people I have met know him. His funeral is tomorrow. He was 22. 

After the shows, I was invited by my Italian co-juror and his wife to accompany them to the residence of the Italian Cultural Attaché, in the wealthy northernmost part of Tehran. I went, and, in an Italian space, saw women's hair for the first time in several days, ate glorious food, and chatted with guests from around the world. A treat.

Then the half hour cab drive back to the Hotel Ferdossi, and sleep in my brown, gold, red and orange room.

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