Thursday, December 29, 2016


 - پروین اعتصامی
چیره‌دستان می‌رُبایند آن‌چه هست
می‌بُرند آنگه ز دزد کاه دست

Thursday, December 15, 2016



Drug Dealer, M.D.

" Drug Dealer, MD" is a considerable book to read. Listen to the full interview in Fresh Air. With Dr. Anna Lembke
"America's attitude toward pain has shifted radically over the past century. Psychiatrist Anna Lembke says that 100 years ago, the medical community thought that pain made patients stronger."

Now Smile

My play Now Smile has been translated into Arabic by Mohamed Ghoneem.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

dirty butterfly

Written by debbie tucker green (lower case at author's request).
Directed by Azar Kazemi
First premiered in The U.S.

Production Dramaturg: Jacob C. Shuler
Genevieve VenJohnson (Amelia)
LeahRaidt (Jo)
Reginald Robinson Jr. (Jason)
Lighting design by Daniel Friedman
Scenic design by Milo Bue
Photo credit: Emily Williams
Photo Courtesy: The Blind Owl
November 3 through December 10, 2016
A Co-Production with The Blind Owl Company at Halcyon Theatre

Knowing nothing about the play and playwright I went to see dirty butterfly. Mesmerized by the whole production, by brilliant acting and directing, challenged by the content and captivated by the poetic language, the play revived some disturbing memories from the past, as I had been listening to repeated violent acts behind the walls. At mid-nights. Imagining the detailed acts of violence….Thinking about the possible reactions…what should I do?
When a play has the power to revive memories, challenge your past, present and future, it has done its job. 

dirty butterfly ceates three characters with their complex situations living in an inner city of London. In a note, Jacob C. Shuler explains: “three characters find themselves unwilling recipients of the effects of domestic abuse. While Jo bears the physical pain alone, Jason and Amelia accumulate a different set of symptoms as sound waves carry the violence through their thin apartment walls.”

 One would experience the experience of others through imagination, through sounds, images and words. That’s how the two characters Amelia and Jason experienced and reacted internally different while they listened to Jo being abused by her partner. We never saw Jo’s partner on the stage. We even never heard his voice.  All we heard was the overlapping dialogue of the three characters in broken and fragmented lines with frenzied, delirious tones, which brought to our mind some of Caryl Churchill’s plays. The poetic language with vague tendencies expressed different traumatic experiences of the characters which brought Theater of Cruelty to mind. In this form of theatre, shocking the audience by showing them the mere truth is an act of awareness. Simply because people think first with all of their senses and emotions.

As a black woman playwright debbie tucker green writes for those who feel…and feel tremendous affinity with the characters she creates for stage.  She emphasizes that she does not write for critics. But writes black characters and “writing black characters is part of her landscape.”

dirty butterfly is not a play only about and for blacks. It’s for all races.  But, it shouldn’t be performed before a passive audience. This is a play filled with conflicting surprises. It would sharpens our senses and acutely awakens us through actions and profound emotional experiences.  Its intense images can never be forgotten. 

With beautiful setting, inspiring lighting design, music and movements, this is a production everyone should dare to experience.

I would highly recommend this play and encourage those who are looking for insightful works of art to see it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Extraordinary Man: Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah in Fresh Air. A "MUST" listen program.

"As the child of a black mother and a white father in apartheid-era South Africa, Daily Show host Trevor Noah was the living, breathing evidence that a crime had been committed.
Under apartheid, interracial couples who had engaged in sexual relations could be punished with years-long prison sentences, and biracial children like Noah could be taken away from their parents. As a result, Noah spent much of his early life in hiding."

"I lived my life as a part-white, part-black but then sometimes Jewish kid, and I didn't understand because she didn't make me convert. ... When I turned 13, she threw me a bar mitzvah, but nobody came because nobody knew what the hell that was. I only had black friends — no one knows what the hell you're doing. So it was just me and my mom and she's celebrating and she's reading things to me in Hebrew. ...
That was the gift my mother gave me. I think that was part of her religious pursuits. My mother's always looking for answers, she's always searching for new information. I think she has a thirst or hunger that very few possess innately, so my mother never stagnated in a place where she said, "I have it all." ... She applied this to everything in our lives, and that was not staying in the space that you are supposed to be in, whether it be racially, whether it be in a community, whether it be gender norms, whatever it was. My mom said, "I am going to seek out more," and so I was constantly confused, which is sometimes a little bit disorienting, but I feel like it leads to a way more colorful life."

What You do Matters

What You do Matters.
A great documentary that would transforms your life.

"What You Do Matters re-imagines philanthropy. Spotlighting the generous spirit, passion and commitment of everyday Chicagoans, this one-hour documentary pivots from the widely held view that philanthropy is the grand generosity of a few to a new mindset–that philanthropy is the collective impact of the many.
Featuring the stories of those who make a difference in their communities, the program reveals how average citizens act, engage, and experience first-hand how giving–and receiving–matter."

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Maya Angelou: We need each other to succeed

“If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up--lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.” Maya Angelou. Let us agree that we need each other to succeed and learn to support one another. The Angelou Johnson Family

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mr. Paul (2)

Photo credit: Sue Cobb
Visiting Mr. Paul after 51 years. Read part 2 of my interview with him.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mr. Paul

I met "Mr. Paul" a Peace Corp volunteer , when I was twelve in Dezful, Iran. My sister searched for him for 8 years. She finally found him in 2014 and we had a reunion after 51 years. Here is my interview with him in Persian after fifty one years!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

On the shoulder of giants in southwest Iran

Photographer Sabyl Ghoussoub always wanted to take pictures of the country, but he wasn’t interested in veiled women, clerics or the underground scene in Tehran. The road less traveled led to Dezful

The Freethinker

A film on August Strindberg by Peter Watkins
"‘The Freethinker’ was projected in a cinema in Stockholm for a few days. The video has been shown at several film festivals, notably the Festival of Festivals in Toronto (at the Art Gallery of Ontario), and in Manosque, France, at the invitation of organizer Pascal Privet. The film received several very sympathetic reviews in the Swedish press at the time, including by Ingamaj Beck in Aftonbladet. The following review appeared in the local Boston press after 'The Freethinker' was screened in a retrospective of my films at the Carpenter Center in Harvard University, January 2001:
'"The first, and greatest, of August Strindberg's misfortunes was his birth." This initial sentence of a 1960s biography on the Swedish playwright, poet, and social critic appears late in Peter Watkins's four-and-a-half hour video investigation of Strindberg, and by that time it makes a lot of sense. Born into a life of poverty and misery, Strindberg found his initial success as a writer soon followed by charges of vulgarity and blasphemy, that left him with a permanent sense of persecution.
The playwright also found himself caught in the complexities of several contradictions between Socialism and Christianity, intellect and emotion, and, most crucial, female and male. His opposition to some goals of the women's suffrage movement has made him one of the most perfect exemplars of misogyny in Western literature. These various antagonisms, and three failed marriages, led Strindberg to the brink of psychological collapse in 1896. From then until his death, in 1912, he created a gentler, more expressionistic art typified by A Dream Play ...
Watkins spent two years teaching video production to a high-school class near Stockholm; The Freethinker is the collage-like result of that class's work. Using scenes from Strindberg's life and plays, photographs of the writer, his family, and 19th-century Sweden, ad hoc discussions by observers of the issues raised in the narrative, and interrogations of characters by other observers, Watkins and his student cobble together a non-linear biographical study that is not east to grasp but rewards the effort. The extreme length of the work and its deliberate non-sequential pacing seem at first to be impositions, especially on those occasions when Watkins repeats a scene. But these repetitions allow you to reconsider what you believe you know, and to think more fully about what you're seeing than most films allow.' (The Boston Phoenix, January 2001)"

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Waiting for Godot

Watch scenes of Waiting for Godot. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in Sean Mathias's production Samuel of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.