SHAHNAMEH:The Persian Book of Kings


 By Abolqasem Ferdowsi

Adapted and directed by Vahdat Yeganeh

Dramaturge: Dr. Robert Lublin

Casts: Deniz Khateri-Rick Chason

Music composed by: Bahar Royaee

Music performed by

Pouya Shabanpour (Percussions)-Eden Rayz (cello)-Bahar Royaee (Piano)

Art director: Jared Wright

Produced by Vahdat Yeganeh (September 2014-March 2015)

Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis (BGSP), Boston University (BU), University of Massachusetts, Boston (UMASS BOSTON), Touch Art Gallery

“A Theatre collaboration among American, Iranian, and Jewish artists, our play explores the nature of evil at a time when we most need to remember where it comes from”

About The Shahnameh Project:

By Rick Chason

At the turn of the second millennium, the Persian poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi composed his masterpiece, what would become the most celebrated work of epic poetry in Iran.  This text, the Shahnameh, chronicles the first fifty kings (or, more accurately, monarchs, as a few of them are queens) in Iran’s history.  Beginning with mythological narratives of early rulers at the dawn of man, the nine-volume poem of over 50,000 lines evolves into a more historically accurate account chronicling Persian history up through the Arab conquest of the seventh century.  Ferdowsi fills the historical epic with lush poetic couplets and profound moral witticisms.  In the story of Zahhak, he describes the reign of the eponymous demon-possessed fourth king of Persia.  Zahhak’s is one of the most popular stories in the Shahnameh, a terrifying, heroic narrative with psychological insights into the nature of evil and an inspiring philosophy of how to overcome it.

The Boston Experimental Theatre Company is devising a surrealist adaptation of Ferdowsi’s story.  Director Vahdat Yeganeh has been leading the company through a radically experimental rehearsal process informed by the dramatic philosophy of Antonin Artaud and the directorial techniques of Jerry Grotowski.  As in the work of these artists, we strive to develop theater rooted in organic connections among artists within a minimalist production design.  Every element of our performance comes from repetitive, naturally driven improvisational exercises so that each facet of the production flows out of personal, earnest passion for the project.  Our recent projects, including our Shahnameh pieces, also seek to realize Dariush Shayegan’s philosophy of “Dialogue Among Civilizations”, a set of ideals that encourage creating an environment for Iranian and American artists and thinkers to explore dynamics of interplay between their cultures.  This artistic and intellectual work serves as an attempt to spark global understanding and empathy and to foster a future of symbiotic cultural development and exchange.  With the Shahnameh plays, we bring together artists from the two societies to promote celebration of overlooked Persian literature in America and to embody and present the work with the sensibilities, experiences, and ideas of both civilizations.

Leran more about B.E.T.

An Inspiration by Antonin Artaud

Jerzy Grotowski and ‘Poor Theatre’ (video)

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