Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: ANDY WARHOL IN IRAN at Barrington Stage Company

“Politics is so Uhm, Abstract”

Review: ANDY WARHOL IN IRAN at Barrington Stage Company
Nima Rakhshanifar and Henry Stram
Photo by Daniel Rader

The World Premiere of Andy Warhol IN IRAN by Brent Askari opens the 2022 season at BSC's St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center.

Commissioned through the Sydelle Blatt New Works Commissioning Program, Andy Warhol IN IRAN is directed by Skip Greer and features Henry Stram (whom many will know from his role as Lewis in HBO's THE GILDED AGE) as Warhol and Nima Rakhshanifar as Farhad.

In 1976 Andy Warhol, the portrait painter of the rich and famous, travels to Tehran commissioned to take Polaroids of the Shah's wife. While there, Warhol encounters a young Iranian radical as unpredictable as Warhol himself. In this smart, new drama, Brent Askari returns to Barrington Stage with a fictionalized portrait of the artist's famed visit to Iran and leaves you asking, "Who was the artist and who was the revolutionary?"

Review: ANDY WARHOL IN IRAN at Barrington Stage Company
Henry Stram
Photo by Daniel Rader

Askari's script provides the two well skilled actors a great deal to work with. The action switches between interactive dialogues between the two characters and a significant number of monologues, presented directly to the audience, breaking the fourth wall that black box productions are well suited for. Stram's performance is both seamless and near flawless. Whether one embraces or rejects Warhol's quirks, many of which are both presented and explained, we find him somewhat charming and rather engaging. Early in the 80-minute (without intermission) presentation, Stram dons a pair of glasses which almost seems to help signal the finalization of his transformation into Warhol, which is strong, well-maintained, and unquestionable throughout. Despite the disparity in their age and length of resumes, Rakhshanifar's level of performance nearly matches Stram's. The pair deliver at the first-rate level true of consummate professionals that had me literally leaning-in often.

Review: ANDY WARHOL IN IRAN at Barrington Stage Company
Nima Rakhshanifar
Photo by Daniel Rader

The creative team includes Brian Prather (scenic designer), Nicole Wee (costume designer), Mary Schilling-Martin (wig designer), Joyce Liao (lighting designer), Dan Roach (sound designer), Yana Biryukova (projections designer). Jason Brouillard, Leslie Sears (production stage managers). The output of each's work is strong without being overpowering. The more subtle aspects work well and in appropriate harmony with the script, direction, and perfoman0ces resulting in an impressive theatrical experience. World premiere presentations like Andy Warhol IN IRAN offer Berkshire audiences a special opportunity to experience a work in progress, recognized for their potential, evolve, While I won't term this one as a must-see; it is most certainly a fine piece, well worth seeing. If not for the creative aspects touched upon above, it serves as a fantastic look at a nearly forgotten period in modern history and a strong reminder both that things are not always as they may at first appear; as well the notion that we are all far more alike than different.

Review: ANDY WARHOL IN IRAN at Barrington Stage Company
Henry Stram
Photo by Daniel Rader

Andy Warhol IN IRAN continues through June 25. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center (36 Linden Street).



Related Articles View More Boston Stories


From This Author - Marc Savitt