Shiraz Festival of Arts: A Point of View

Ta’ziyeh is a form of traditional theatre from Iran. As a child, I saw many Ta’ziyeh plays on different occasions, some lasting twelve hours. It was so much a part of our childhood that we used to play at Ta’ziyeh as children, wielding sticks as swords and imitating the characters. From an early age I had decided I wanted to be in the theatre. When I finished high school I went directly to the School of Dramatic Arts in Tehran to study Western theatre. During that period of my life, I had forgotten all about Ta’ziyeh until the Shiraz Festival of Arts came along.

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Reproduction of Journey in New York City

Clips of the original play, Journey, written and directed by Mohammad B. Ghaffari from the medieval text, Hayy ibn Yaqzan by ibn Tufayl. Produced at the Kilburn Arena Stage, Rarig Theatre Center, University of Minnesota, February 24-26, 2011 and then at the Children's Theatre of Minneapolis, Cargill Stage from March 3-13, 2011. 

Laila The New Opera in Ta'zieh Style.

For SAIC Shapiro Center/Art Institute of Chicago/Link's Hall, San Jose Stage Company;

Tues, May 21 @7pm Art Institute Ballroom run throughs during the day @11-5 invited audience for concert reading of the score

Mohammad Ghaffari is a New York City-based Iranian director, choreographer named by Theatre Journal as "without a doubt the world's foremost expert" on Iranian Ta'ziyeh theater. Richard Marriott is a San Francisco-based composer of renowned innovative scores for theater and silent film: "Marriott's affinity for scoring the film, with a stylistic mix from German brass bands, cabaret, early jazz and other sources, wedded to the starkly Expressionistic visual imagery... is near to perfect" (Oakland Tribune), "the only true conqueror of this 'new musical frontier'" (East Bay Express). Ruth Margraff is a Chicago-based playwright "shaping the future of American theatre" (Austin Chronicle) known for her "audaciously original" (Moscow Times) use of language that provides "layer after layer of richly textured emotion" (Dallas Morning News).

THE PASSION OF LAILA is the first passion play created in a daring contemporary resetting of the classic story of Joseph in Egypt inspired by Joseph in Egypt. Many Americans are familiar with the Biblical version of the Joseph story made popular by the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and many famous oil paintings of the very moment that Joseph is seduced by Potiphar's wife. However our core artists are excited to work from a Ta'ziyeh version of the story called JOSEPH AND ZULEIKA written in the 15th century by Sufi poet Jami who portrays Zuleika as sympathetic and transcendent, earning Joseph's love in the end. Our lead character Laila will be placed center stage in her journey to passion and compassion in this parable of second love and redemption. Enlightenment dawns in ecstatic and dynamic moments of intuition and choice, social conflict and alliance across cultures, class, geographies and generations.