Art And Culture

Post WWII Hamlet Enacted

Post WWII Hamlet EnactedPost WWII Hamlet Enacted

The play ‘Acting Hamlet in the Village of Mrdusa Donja’, written by Ivo Bresan and translated and directed by Mehrdad Khamenei, is on stage at Tehran’s Qasr Garden Museum.

“The Croatian screenplay was written in 1965 and staged for the first time in 1971. It is one of the most influential works of performance art in Croatia’s contemporary literature,” Honaronline quoted the director as saying.

Khamenei has previously performed in a monologue titled “Marx in Soho” at Entezami House Museum.

The play is one of the most popular in central Europe. Its influence on the general public saw the entry of the phrase “Mrdusa Donja” into Croatian dictionaries as the symbolic social term for “ignorance and cultural primitivism in no man’s land.”

It is staged at national theatres in Zagreb, Sarajevo and Belgrade as a fixed repertoire and has also gone on stage in Germany, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Noting that Central European writers are lesser known among Iranian art lovers, Khamenei said his theater group “Exit” had introduced the play in the country for the first time in Farsi.

“One of its main features is that it introduces the unique satire of its respective region to the rest of the world. It is not very well known in Iran and that is why I decided to translate it, compatible with our culture and social ethos, and it is different from the original English translation. I am glad that our troupe was successful in introducing a new literary figure,” he said.

The story takes place in a 1950 Yugoslavian village in a post WWII setting where partisans and the communist party have risen to power. Having watched “Hamlet” by Shakespeare, a naïve villager decides to take it on stage with his own interpretation only to portray the lead character in a completely different way. Meanwhile, a “real Hamlet story” is happening in the village.

“It is a type of play-in-play where we observe the ridiculous rehearsals of villagers for a distorted version of Hamlet, while they are living the real story in their daily lives,” says Khamenei.

A Croatian playwright, novelist and screenwriter known for political satire, Bresan is the author of some of the most staged Croatian plays as well as a great number of TV and film scenarios.

With Azita Nourivafa, Iraj Tadayyon, Kiarash Labani, Mansour Mirzababaee, and Avishan Bikayee among the cast, the play is on stage every night till July 8.