Dostoyevsky Meets Topor in Aminian's 'Tenant'
Art And Culture

Dostoyevsky Meets Topor in Aminian's 'Tenant'

Playwright and director of the play 'Tenant' Setareh Aminian, will show her work in Paris after its staging in Tehran.
Tenant is currently underway at Hafez Hall. It opened on July 11 and will run through August 8. It is staged at 9 pm all days except Saturday, Mehr News Agency reported.
The play is an adaptation of two famous novels. The original Tenant by French illustrator, painter, writer and filmmaker Roland Topor (1938-1997) is one of them. It is an exploration of identity and alienation, discussing how humans define themselves. It was this novel that inspired French-Polish director, producer and writer Roman Polanski, 82, to make his namesake film in 1976.
The other novel is Notes from Underground, a philosophical novel by Russian novelist, essayist, journalist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881). It is considered by many to be one of the first existentialist novels told in form of an excerpt from rambling memoirs of a bitter, isolated narrator.
"I read Topor's Tenant when I was studying in Paris. The novel interested me, and I decided to merge it with Dostoyevsky's Notes, due to their resemblance in concept and atmosphere," Aminian said.
"In his novella, Dostoyevsky speaks about the stifling situation of contemporary human life. He elaborates on the factors conducive to an underground sort of life, where one's stronghold is situated under the ground."
Tenant, on the other hand, speaks about an undermined will and suppression of speech. It is of the same dire situation Dostoyevsky is speaking about. Many French critics have already noted the similarities between the two novels, she said.
The story is about Monsieur Trelkovsky, an ordinary man who enters a flat where previous tenant Simone Choule has tried to kill herself by jumping out of her window. Under the pressure of neighbors and those around, Trelkovsky confuses Simone's life with that of his own. Eventually, he imagines a delusional double and meets the same fate as hers, Aminian said of the play.
"The décor of Trelkovsky's flat is of metal, emphasizing the cold and cruel atmosphere. Instead of stairs, we used two ramps that meet in an absurd visual form."
The play will be staged in cooperation with the French company 'Reformance' in France later, where the dialogues will be in French. The cast will not change. The director says there won't be any language problem "as there is enough time to practice the dialogues in French."
The cast members are Morteza Esmailkashi, Afshin Ghafarian, Sara Olia, Mona Sharifi, Samira Tolui, Borna E'temadi, Saeed Oveysi and Rahim Norouzi.

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