Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who is Alice Neel?

Alice Neel "is an American artist known for her oil on canvas portraits of friends, family, lovers, poets, artists and strangers. Her paintings are notable for their expressionistic use of line and color, psychological acumen, and emotional intensity."

Alice Neel painted Truth...


David Tennant and Patrick Stewart star in an adaptation of Hamlet, in 2008 production.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One sees clearly only with the heart

A touching reaction to Kaveh Adel's art work by the Norwegian people.
As a Persian poet (Saadi) says:
"Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain."

Listen to an interview with Jeff Sharlet on Democracy Now.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Horror in Norway

The horrific explosion and massacre in Norway shook the world:
"A Norwesian who dressed as a police officer to gun down summer campers killed at least 80 people at an island retreat, horrified police said early Saturday. It took investigators several hours to begin the realize the full scope of Friday's massacre, which followed an explosion in nearby Oslo that killed seven and that police say was set off by the same suspect."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"...And suddenly the Woman said: Leopard"

My short story "...And suddenly the Woman said: Leopard" from my collection of short stories: "...And Suddenly the Leopard said: Woman"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Barcarolle from Les contes d'Hoffmann

Irina & Cristina with their father

Soprano Irina Iordachescu and mezzosoprano Cristina Iordachescu - Iordache - two sisters singing the Barcarolle from 'Les contes d'Hoffmann' by Offenbach, together with pianist Gonul Apdula.

(Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour)
Lovely night, oh night of love,
Smile upon our joys!
Night much sweeter than the day,
Oh beautiful night of love!

Time flies by, and carries away
Our tender caresses for ever!
Time flies far from this happy oasis
And does not return.

Burning zephyrs,
Embrace us with your caresses!
Burning zephyrs,
Give us your kisses!
Your kisses! Your kisses! Ah!

Lovely night, oh night of love,
Smile upon our joys!
Night much sweeter than the day,
Oh beautiful night of love!
Ah! Smile upon our joys!
Night of love, oh night of love!
Ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rigoletto From Martuna

I'm still stunned by the production of Rigoletto From Martuna an opera in three acts, composed by Giuseppe Verdi, conducted by Zubin Mehta with Placido Domingo as Rigoletto and Julia Novikova as Gilda.
Part 1
Part 2
And watch the rest of this magnificent opera.
Read Italian and English translation of the Libertto

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The International Voices Project

Last night was the last reading of the International Voices Project, premiering The Sultan's Dilemma by Tawfiq al-Hakim at Silk Road Theatre Project introduced by Fouad Teymour the Egyptian-American Professor of Chemical Engineering at IIT.
In IVP website Fouad states:
"Throughout history, leaders have had to choose between using force or legal means to deal with opposition and discontent. This strenuous moral test is the main dilemma facing Tawfiq al-Hakim’s “perplexed sultan” when he discovers that he was never manumitted before becoming the supreme ruler of the land.


As Al-Hakim explains throughout THE SULTAN’S DILEMMA, the use of force generally achieves fast results, but carries along the consequence of naked exposure to the eyes of the world—a hefty loss to regimes that prefer to hide behind masks of insincere benevolence and well-crafted artifice. On the other hand, abiding by the law curtails the free reign enjoyed by many regimes and forces them to compromise, but also shields them from being prosecuted or pressured to dissolve."

Professor Cherif Bassiouni (I was really delighted to see him there) spoke analytically on the history and universality of Hakim's play.

As an Iranian writer, I have always dreamed to be a member of an International theatre, art and literature. "World is my Home" was my favorite line of the well known poem by Nima Youshij, the prominent contemporary Iranian poet as I have been reciting constantly throughout my life. Coming to the U.S., I became a member of International Writing Program in Iowa city for six years where I met remarkable writers and playwrights from all over the world. I followed my interest in developing my knowledge in international theatre (as well as film and literature) as a global writer and playwright while I moved from one city to another.
Moving to Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend the last Chicago International Theatre Festival where I saw a breathtaking Greek production of “Persians” by Aeschylus along with more amazing plays in 1994. International Women Playwrights was also another source for me to travel to different countries and learn about other cultures.
Then there was a vacuum for several years! Until last year...the first year of IVP...

Patrizia Acerra, the founder and the curator of IVP

Now, IVP is in its second annual concert reading series in collaboration with eight foreign consulates and cultural institutions throughout the Chicagoland area. THE 2011 INTERNATIONAL VOICES PROJECT was run from May 13th to July 12th. Patrizia Acerra, the founder and the curator of IVP has done an outstanding work to create an excellent cultural atmosphere for Chicagoan who would want to expand their knowledge about the world we live in.

I particularly found Hilda by Marie Ndiaye from France, THE GOLDEN DRAGON by Roland Schimmelpfennig from Germany, the List by Jennifer Tremblay from Canada and The Sultan's Dilemma by Tawfiq al-Hakim, the best plays of the series.
Thank you for all the hard work behind the scene.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Three Plays by Theatre with Accent

In the second reading series by Theatre with Accent on Friday June 24, 2011, we presented three Short Plays by Mohsen Azimi, Hattie He and Ezzat Goushegir, directed by Azar Kazemi and acted by Bridget Schreiber & Adam Brown at Mess hall

Things are not always the same
By: Mohsen Azimi
Translation: Setareh Behroozi

Watch an excerpt of the play.
And a video clip with Mohsen Kermani's photos.

MAN's voice: ouch!

WOMAN's voice: you cut your hand! let me see….

MAN's voice: It's nothing!

WOMAN's voice: let me see your wound if there is a piece of glass in it…

MAN's voice: No!

Azar Kazemi, the director

On the Lantern Festival
By Hattie He

Watch an excerpt of the play.

Young lady
Don’t shut the door! One hundred, please!

(The boy has a look at the girl, smiling to himself, and then steps back into the elevator.)
My pleasure.
(The elevator goes upward.)


Young lady

Dinner. With me. On this glorious Lantern Festival.

Medea was born in Fallujah
By Ezzat Goushegir

Watch an excerpt of the play.

Your eyes are…unbearably dark…

In your arms… that night in your arms, I asked myself: is it love that draws me to infidelity?

You poisoned me?

Touch my hands.

Your hands are cold.

No! We don’t kiss strange men!

Am I a stranger now?

Azar, Bridget, Adam and Ezzat in Q & A after the reading.

Pictures are taken by Manij Marashi

My Name is Inanna in Beijing-China

My trip to China in March 2011 was short and condensed but an extraordinary experience. I had a chance to have a reading of my play My Name is Inanna at the Department of Literature and Foreign Languages under the leadership of Artistic director and actor Professor Joseph Graves

With a group of Tibetan dancers in a museum in Beijing

In Forbidden City in Beijing

A street artist made beautiful sculptures with melted sugar in five minutes. I asked him to make three zodiac figures for my loved ones. He made them. They existed only a few minutes. A wind blew and the magnificent art works were shattered. Here is just a piece of a golden rooster!

At the doorway of literature Department with Professor Graves

At the University of Beijing with professor Joseph Graves

With students of the Department of Literature and Foreign Languages

Q & A after my solo performance.

Q & A session.
All the pictures are taken by Hossein Khandan, the filmmaker

My Name is Inanna at Mess Hall

“My Name is Inanna” was the first play in a quarterly reading series of “Theatre With Accent” at Mess Hall, Chicago on Friday January 28, 2011.

Mess Hall
6932 N Glenwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60626
Neighborhood: Rogers Park

The play was performed by Ezzat Goushegir and Kristin Lems

The main character Inanna, retrieved from the historical texts, the Sumerian goddess of love, justice and civilization, is a modern Middle Eastern woman who is in search of identity, justice and freedom. She leaves her mother country, where she had been imprisoned under the tyrannical regime for several years until she flees the country. After receiving a political asylum in the U.S., dreaming of democracy, she practices the expression of freedom of speech. But it is a crucial historical moment after the invasion of Iraq, and she is being arrested for her opposition to war in the Middle Eastern region. Handcuffed alone in a holding area, she speaks for 55 minutes, reliving her experiences of politics and incarceration in her native country, as well as those of her newly adopted country.

Rozalinda (The organizer) and her daughter
Watch excerpts of the reading in this link.
Pictures are taken by Sergio Daw and Mercede Majdi. Videography by sergio Daw.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Heart of Jenin

Esmael Khatib, Ahmad's father from the Jenin refugee camp

I deeply moved when I watched a heart wrenching documentary Heart of Jenin on Wide Angle program a few days ago.

The "12-year-old Palestinian Ahmed Khatib was killed in the West Bank city of Jenin by Israeli soldiers who mistook his toy gun for the real thing, his death could have been just one more blip on the news. Instead, Ahmed’s parents’ decision to donate his organs turned tragedy into hope for six Israelis and created a rare moment of optimism amid the violence and entrenched hatred surrounding an intractable conflict.

In Heart of Jenin, WIDE ANGLE tells the story of Ahmed Khatib’s tragic death and his father Ismael Khatib’s journey to visit three of the organ recipients two years later."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Guest House

The Guest House by Rumi.

Being human is like a guest house
هست مهمانخانه این تن ای جوان

هرصباحی ضیف نوآیددرآن

نی غلط گفتم که آیددم به دم

ضیف تازه فکرت شادی وغم

میزبان تازه روشو ای خلیل


هرچه آیدازجهان غیب وش

دردلت ضیف است اورادارخوش

فکرغم گرراه شادی می زند

کارسازی های شادی می کند

غم زدل هرچه بریزدیابرد

درعوض حقاکه بهتر آورد

خاصه آن راکه یقینش باشداین

که بودغم بنده اهل یقین

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sohrab Shahid Saless

July 1st 1998 is the day Sohrab Shahid Saless passed away in Chicago. He "was an Iranian film director and screenwriter and one of the most celebrated figures in Iranian cinema in the 20th century. After 1976 he worked in the Cinema of Germany and was an important component of the film diaspora working in the German industry."

Friday, July 1, 2011

The List

Photo by Venus Zarris

Last Tuesday on June 27, 2011,I attended The List (La Liste) a powerful one woman play by Canadian playwright Jennifer Tremblay at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago. The International Voices Project, in collaboration with The Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, presented yet another dynamic U. S. Premiere staged reading. The List exposes "the insular experience of a woman driven by self-created to-do lists that serve the purposes of the day-to-day but forsake the very life of a close friend."

Lyndsay Rose Kane reading The List
Along with Hilda by Marie Nduaye, this reading was another successful reading directed by Patrizia Acerra and a captivating performance by Lyndsay Rose Kane.