Iran Theatre “Far More Modern” Than Expected
A German theatre director and artist who has travelled with his troupe to Iran to stage a play on the occasion of the 33rd Fajr International Theatre Festival said Iranian theater is far beyond what he had expected.
“I did not expect Iranian theatre culture to be so modern and advanced, especially in comparison to other countries of Asia and the Middle East that I have visited,” Felix Mathias Ott said.
Characterizing Iranian approach towards theatre as being far from “traditional”, Mathias Ott said “it has thus many things to say.”
This is his first visit to Iran. He described his earlier perception of the country to be limited to the image presented by the media, and often “frightening”. He added however that he knew it had nothing to do with reality.
“Now I can hardly remember what I used to think about Iran before visiting the country. All the negative conceptions vanished in the course of a few hours after I arrived.”
Written and directed by Mathias Ott, ‘Odyssey Complex’ staged four performances from January 22-23 at the Fajr Festival, Artna reported, describing the play as “a distinguished piece of performing arts that managed to attract Iranian audience with its exotic special effects and spaces.”
Starting with a surprise at the outset in all the four performances, a German actor came on the scene to tell the spectators that due to technical problems the performance was called off for that night.
He then went on to disappoint the audience by telling them that they will be presented with a film that displays a previous show.
When the audience got totally disappointed, there was a heavy downpour on stage, with Odyssey appearing on the scene to mop it up.
At the end of one of the performances, Mathias Ott appeared on screen to tell the audience in a short talk that suspension and surprise is a usual theme in his works, adding that he only changes the shape in different settings.
In the India performance, for example, he said he personally went on stage to tell the audience that “Felix Mathias Ott is sick and the show is off”. Once again in Berlin at the same performance, the audience was told that the show was cancelled since an actor was injured, and “he really was.”
The tricks played on the audience help them distance themselves and move out of “realism” to the world of imagination, said Mathias Ott, which is the spirit of the Homeric myth itself, i.e. an adventurous story in a dreamlike atmosphere.
In his first experience as a theatre director, Mathias Ott said he chose Odyssey for three reasons. First, like all other works of mythology all around the world, Odyssey deals with fundamental questions facing humankind, which the German artist thinks are “attractive for people from all cultures.”
The second was the fact that he wanted to start his career as a director with an ancient European myth.
Thirdly, Mathias Ott pointed to “the similarity of all humans to Odyssey in embarking on a unique adventure during their lives. I personally well understand what it means to find one’s way back home,” he said.
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer, the great epic poet. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer.