The Brick Presents the Iranian Theater Festival
Iran is one of the oldest civilizations in history. Persian theater, influenced by Arab, Assyrian and other cultures of the Middle East, has created many rich traditions of performance from ancient times through the modern day. Yet this vibrant heritage remains woefully underrepresented on American stages.
The Brick proposes to expand the boundaries of this cultural moment, and collaborate with Iranian theater artists in the U.S. and abroad, by hosting and producing the first festival in New York devoted solely to Iranian Theater.
The festival will include new works, in Persian and English, from legendary Iranian exile and Helman-Hammet Grant Award-winner Assurbanipal Babilla, a celebration of Reza Abdoh, Two Stories That End in Suicide by Piehole (inspired by Sadegh Hedayet's The Blind Owl), A preview excerpt from Brendan Regimbal & Samara Naeymi's Aviary, Leila Ghaznavi's Silken Veils, newly-commissioned contemporary works from Iranian-based playwrights and participants of the Fadjr InterNational Theatre Festival and a special celebration of the traditional Iranian New Year's holiday, Nowruz.
The Iranian Theater Festival will run March 3-26 at The Brick (575 Metropolitan Avenue between Union and Lorimer, Brooklyn). Tickets ($15) will go on sale Monday, February 14 and may be purchased online at www.bricktheater.com or by calling Theatermania at 212-352-3101.
Ballet Iranian Style, or What is the World Coming to?
Created by Assurbanipal Babilla
Presented by Purgatorio Ink
An experimental improvised theatrical ballet in Persian and English by Assurbanipal Babilla and his demented muses. You thought you'd seen everything, done everything. Well, you're wrong! You've always been wrong. We promise not to kill you with beauty. Your nerve endings are about to be tested. You'll have something to leave for your grandchildren. Don't worry, there's nothing funny about this experimental, conceptual, Aristotelian logic. It's tragic in the extreme. Get ready to hear whispered expletives. We're out to seduce all your senses.
Something Something Uber Ales
Written by Assurbanipal Babilla & Directed by Michael Yawney.
Performed by Matthew Glass
A bizarre and dramatic journey of epic proportions, as our lonely actor recalls the life of a man whose only noticeable feature is that he is Hitler's doppelganger. Listen as he is discovered by two gay pastry chefs and inducted into a Hitler worshipping cult located miles and miles below the F Train in Midtown Manhattan.
Written & directed by Leila Ghaznavi
Presented by Pantea Productions
An elegant hybdrization of Rumi poetry, marionettes, shadow puppets, live performance, animation, and contemporary Iranian history, Silken Veils in an original work showing the turbulence and passion of family during the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Told through the eyes of Darya, the daughter character in this piece, we see how the Revolution pulled down her family as she recounts her memories to her fiancée on their wedding day. Fringe First Nominee at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. www.silkenveils.net
2 Stories That End in Suicide
Presented by Piehole
2 Stories That End in Suicide uses video, puppetry, and live actors to tell the story of contemporary youth in Iran, and the limitations of Western media representations. We draw from two seemingly disparate novels (Cesare Pavese's Among Women Only and Sadegh Hedayet's The Blind Owl), as well as the censorship laws required by the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the blogging habits of young Iranians. Tying these threads together with our distinctive brand of strangeness and humor, we probe ideas of private and public suffering and examine the repressed and complex conditions in Iranian society. www.pieholed.com
Aviary, A preview excerpt
Created by Brendan Regimbal & Samara Naeymi
In a lush world of dense media-scapes, dance and traditional storytelling are used to collide the story of Scheherazade and her sister with the Victorian era's Isabel Burton and Jane Digby. The full-length production of Aviary will premiere at the Incubator Arts Project in June 2011. www.snaeymi.com/sn/Current
Pen Pals Meet: A Conversation Between Eliza and Salar
Presented by Thinking Persons Theatre
In 2008 Eliza Bent received an email from Salar Sardary, an Iranian university student, who asked about how to view American Theatre Magazine online. From that interaction, an unlikely sporadic pen pal friendship formed. Two years later the pen pals meet officially over Skype and have a conversation, live on stage.
Written by Siavash Pakrah & Directed by Gyda Arber
Three slaves, entombed in their Master's crypt, search for faith, meaning and a way out of their prison. Before their air is gone. And before The Master arrives. Join us in a world of double and triple meanings that sheds light on contemporary Iran, where one thing always stands for another. Translated into English for the first time.
Three Eternal Days
Written by Mohammad Ebrahimian
University students in war-torn Iran wrestle with Rumi, The Quran and The Book of Revelations as their families struggle to survive. But when the air-raid sirens sing out, whose ethos will truly matter? A cultural, historical, religious, mythical tour de force set during the time of the Iraq missile attacks on Iran, Three Eternal Days is a contemporary work by Iranian playwright Mohammad Ebrahimian. Translated into English for the first time, the play is steeped in the traditional Ta'ziyah and the devotions of Saint Reza.
Written & performed by Negin Farsad
Presented by Vaguely Qualified Productions
Bootleg Islam is a one-woman comedy about a California-raised Iranian-American girl gallivanting around the streets of Tehran, Iran. She travels to this Middle-Eastern hotbed for a cousin's wedding and discovers how ridiculous oppression can be, how delicious the third world has become and how hard it is to keep a chador on. www.neginfarsad.com
Written & performed by Jaleh Stoltz
Foreigner is a personal exploration of faith, identity, and culture in an increasingly complicated world. Jaleh Stoltz uses dance and theater to reenact her religious upbringing in the Baha'i Faith and a solo-journey to the Islamic Republic of Iran to find the roots of her religious convictions.
In Medias Res
Written & performed by Sade Namei
This is a piece about identity of an Iranian born and raised actor and the history of her nation rooted in her and how it gives purpose to her art and propels her forward. www.sadenamei.com
White Rabbit, Red Rabbit
Written by Nassim Soleimanpour
Playwright Nassim Soleimanpour's postmodern theatrical happening receives its New York premiere replete with murders, suicides and rabbits.
The Iranian New Year will be commemorated at The Brick with traditional celebration including Iranian food and music.
THE BRICK was founded in 2002 by Robert Honeywell and Michael Gardner. Formerly an auto-body shop, a yoga center, and various storage spaces, this brick-walled garage in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was completely refurbished as a state-of-the-art performance space. Since then, The Brick has launched, produced and presented hundreds of world-premiere stage works from New York emerging artists and theater-makers from around the globe. The theater company is a proud member of New York's burgeoning Indie Theater community and informal home to an ever-expanding family of artists and avid theatergoers. The Brick received a 2009 New York Innovative Theatre Foundation Caffe Cino Fellowship Award for being "an Off-Off Broadway theatre company that consistently produces outstanding work."