Art And Culture

Aqua Settings for a Historic Play

Aqua Settings for a Historic PlayAqua Settings for a Historic Play

Theatre director Ali Rafiee will launch a play ‘Memories and Nightmares of a Clothes Keeper of Mirza Taghi Khan’ at Vahdat Hall on November 5.

The settings designed by Rafiee are unusual, a combination of an old public bathhouse and royal palace. The stage will be in “aqua settings” with 4500 liters of water, which is a unique feature of the play, Honaronline reported.

Mirza Taghi Khan Farahani, known as Amir Kabir (1807-1852), was chief minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (king of Persia) for the first three years of his reign and one of the most capable and innovative figures in the Qajar Era (1785 to 1925). Amir Kabir also served as prime minister under Naser al-Din Shah.

He is widely considered as ‘Iran’s first reformer’, a modernizer who was unjustly struck down in 1852 as he made efforts to gradually introduce reforms.

The play is about an apple and a worm, metaphorically implying Amir Kabir’s inroads into the regime. “When a worn gets inside an apple, it should eat the apple to survive, otherwise it dies. This is similar to the destiny of Amir Kabir,” said Rafiee.

A two-story hall was allocated for the earlier performance of the play in 1977 with Mehdi Hashemi playing Naser al-Din Shah and Golab Adineh playing Galin (his first wife). “The stage was also filled with water in the earlier performance but at a much higher level, rising up to the actors’ waist.”

In the new version, the water level will not exceed a few centimeters, he said, adding that technical studies were carried out for having water on the well-insulated floor. The stage will be functional, with use of machinery and equipment. Along with the décor, costumes and professional lighting, “a memorable performance will be created,” he said.

Siamak Safari, Mehdi Soltani, Maryam Sa’adat, Mostafa Sasani, Nastaran Derakhshanzadeh, Sara Rasoulzadeh and Abbas Jamali are among the big cast of 33 actors.

Rafiee, 75, is a veteran theatre and cinema director and stage designer. He got his bachelor and master’s degree in sociology from Sorbonne University. He also holds a bachelor and master’s degree and a PhD in theater from the same university.

He has made two films and staged over 10 plays including ‘Antigone’ by Sophocles, ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, ‘Blood Wedding’ by Federico Garcia Lorca and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare.

The play will be on stage for one month.