Art And Culture

‘Shakheh-Nabaat’, a Musical Rare to Theater

‘Shakheh-Nabaat’, a Musical Rare to Theater
‘Shakheh-Nabaat’, a Musical Rare to Theater

The director of ‘Shakheh-Nabaat’ described his latest performance as rhymed/metric prose, rare to Iranian theater.

Mehdi Shamsaee summarizing his work says: “It is a narrative of a time when people abandoned the old mansion for an unknown reason and left it to the mercy of mice and cats; the story of the humans ended, however, the story of life was going on; the eternal question: to be or not to be.”

Speaking with honaronline, he explained why he picked Ubayd Zakani’s Mush o-gorbeh (Mouse and Cat): “The story picked me. I usually take notes when reading. I came across a story line in Ubayd’s poetry. That was the beginning of the play.”

He considered metric prose as the most important characteristic of his work. The performance is on till October 22 at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall.

The director of ‘Sheykh-e San’an’ further said the musical in some parts “approaches caricature though in other parts, it is totally realistic.”

 Different Techniques

“The focus of my work is to convey the message in the best possible way. That was the reason for using different styles and techniques,” he added.

He noted that Ubayd’s poems have received a “positive feedback from the audience” but suffers from poor publicity as “the play was suspended at times; so producers took it for granted that the performance was banned”. That is why there is “no poster or billboard” and “we have advertised through the audience and friends.”

Shamsaee, who also directed ‘Salaaman and Absaal’ said it was major problem for performers to read rhymed prose. “Our professional actors and actresses had problems producing various syllables or singing. Therefore after training and rehearsals for four months we were ready to go on stage,” he said.

He further said “it is a modern performance using an ancient technique. Iranian classical literature is not dramatic and transforming it into such a script is difficult.”

 Poet and Satirist

Nezam-o-Din Ubeydollah Zakani or simply Ubayd-i Zakani (1300 – 1371), was a Persian poet and satirist of the 14th century (Timurid Period) from the city of Qazvin. He studied in Shiraz under the best masters of his day, but eventually moved back to Qazvin. He however preferred Shiraz where he was a court poet for Shah Abu Ishaq, where a young Hafez was present as well.

His work is noted for its satire, often political. He wrote Akhlaq al-Ashraf (‘Ethics of the Aristocracy’) as well as the famous humorous fable Masnavi Mush o-Gorbeh (Mouse and Cat), a political satire. His non-satirical classical verses are also reputed, in league with other great works of Persian literature. His books have been translated into Russian, Danish, Italian, English, and German.