Art And Culture

‘Haunted’ at Armenian Fest

‘Haunted’ at Armenian Fest‘Haunted’ at Armenian Fest

The play ‘Haunted’ by director Hassan Sobhani will be staged at the 13th High Fest International Performing Arts Festival in Yerevan.

Produced by Minab Anamis Theatre Group, from Minab in Hormozgan Province, it dramatizes the ancient southern Iranian belief ‘zaar’, also described as the relation between haunter and haunted by local people, IRNA reports.

Zaar as a religious custom apparently originated in central Ethiopia during the 18th century and later spread to East and North Africa. It is based on the belief of possession by a spirit (usually female) of an individual. Such beliefs also exist in Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, southern Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.

This year’s edition of the festival will be held from October 1 to 8 at Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinema, Armenia.

In Ethiopia, zaar also refers to malevolent demons. Many Ethiopian Christians and Muslims believe in these spirits. Among both groups, mental illness is often attributed to ‘possession by zaar.’ In Ethiopia, it is more common among women. At the same time, many Ethiopians believe in benevolent, protective spirits. While this belief in zaar and demon fits the traditional dualism of good and evil, it is also deeply rooted in superstition.

The idea of the play was first raised by Hossein Asili, a performer in the show. Later in the rehearsals, the original plot was modified.

Sobhani said the group will also attend the 26th Cuttack Theatre Festival for Children and Youth in the Indian state of Odisha with a different show performed by experts and mentally challenged actors “in support of Minab city’s young patients.”

High Fest annually welcomes performing arts companies and artists to present their productions in all genres of performing arts including theatre and music.

Eight other Iranian theater groups from different cities will also take part in this year’s edition.

During the past six years, the festival hosted 47 theater groups from Iran as well as photo and poster exhibitions and various workshops.