Tehran, melting pot of cultures during 34th Fajr Intl. Theater Fest.

TEHRAN, Feb. 13 (MNA) – Tehran was host to one of the greatest international cultural events in the country this February, the 34th Fajr International Theater Festival.

This January, all theater stages as well as some outdoor public spaces in Tehran were host to a great cultural event called Fajr International Theater Festival (FITF) with over 300 high-quality plays from 9 foreign countries and various provinces across the country wooing the audience and cultivating their taste in high art.

The highlight of the international section of Fajr Theater Festival which was enjoying its 34th year was the participation of renowned German director Thomas Ostermeier with his stage production of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece 'Hamlet'. The play had three performances on three days at Vahdat Hall, the capital’s only opera house, to a completely sold-out event. It did not come as a surprise to anyone that Ostermeier took home the festival’s grand prix.

But Hamlet, magnificent and impressive as it was, was not the only noteworthy event of the festival. Norway also participated in the 34th FITF with Henrik Ibsen’s controversial, yet beautifully-written play ‘Hedda Gabler’ by Norwegian director Marianne Roland’s troupe. Although the stage was unconventional and the seats were very limited and the translated subtitle was in English rather than Persian – one could almost think the performance was a private event, the performance itself was powerful and left quite a lingering effect on the audience who had been lucky enough to have secured themselves a seat for this Norwegian production.

Japan’s ‘The Shadow Game’ by Dazzle Dance Company dominated the stage in Vahdat Hall with four performances in two days, each time to an enthusiastic, crowded audience. The art performance which had employed elements of street dance and electronic music and infused it with an interesting plotline was aesthetically beautiful and fluidly moving and would have easily won an award in the section of Best Dancing Moves if the festival actually had one.

As it were, the festival’s international section recognized the following categories: Best Makeup Artist (won by Maria Hajiha for ‘Crime and Punishment’, Iran), Best Music (won by Music band for ‘Cenmar Sacrifice Séance’, Iran) , Best Clothes Designer (won by Ehsasn Falahatpisheh for ‘A Journey to the Farthest Away’, Iran), Best Stage Design (won by Reza Gouran for ‘The Night Sings its Songs’, Iran), Best Actor (won by Lars Eidinger for ‘Hamlet’, Germany), Best Actress (won by Soudeh Sharhi for ‘Crime and Punishment’, Iran), Best Script (won by Amin Ebrahimi for ‘A Song for You’, Iran), and Best Director (won by Iman Afsharian for ‘Crime and Punishment’, Iran).

The festival’s Special Award went to ‘When We Dead Awaken’ based on a play by Henrik Ibsen and directed by Shahab Agahi, Iran, while Thomas Ostermeier snatched the Grand Prix for ‘Hamlet’.

While Hamlet was the only foreign performance that was awarded, Farindokht Zahedi, one of the juries for the international section was of the opinion that foreign plays should not participate in the competition section of the festival and awards should only be granted to Iranian productions as an incentive to encourage them for producing stage performances that would be chosen for international events.  

In any event, all productions were good enough to have been selected for Fajr Theater Festival and the tickets were all pre-sold so quickly and the attending audience were so great in number that many had to sit on the floor or the stairs to watch a particular play. One would think half of the population in Tehran had at least watched a play or two during the festival. For some reason, Iranians love the theater, perhaps even more so than the cinema, and when they are presented with a chance to sit down before a foreign-produced performance, to get introduced to theatre projects from other cultural backgrounds and experience a different kind of performance art, they will rush in without a second thought.

Fajr is the country’s leading international cultural event, with sections in theater, cinema, music, poetry and visual arts, organized annually during February to celebrate the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution. The event has been so far embraced with great enthusiasm and the audience becomes larger and larger each year. Fajr Theater Festival (est. in 1983), in particular, is not only a time for watching great stage productions; it is a golden opportunity to get closely familiar with the theater trend in other countries without having to actually travel there. 




News Code 114364


Your Comment

You are replying to: .
  • captcha