Art And Culture

Saadi Play to Be Staged for Fajr Festival

Saadi Play to Be Staged for Fajr FestivalSaadi Play to Be Staged for Fajr Festival

Theater director and playwright Hussein Kiani will stage a play based on the accounts of Persian poet Saadi's life, at the Fajr Theater Festival next year.

'One Day in Sheikh Ajal's Life' is the title of Kiani's play, who says the idea occurred to him a couple of years ago.

"I have always been preoccupied with Saadi. Unlike other prominent Persian poets such as Rumi (1207-1273) and Hafez (1325-1389), Saadi of Shiraz (1210-1291) has not been done full justice in theater works," he told ISNA.

Plays on the lives of such prominent figures are rare. "If there were any, they were based on choreography more than dramatic script," he said.

The play portrays Saadi in his midlife, when he starts to show cultural and intellectually maturity. "The Saadi I'm going to portray is a young, energetic poet who is sociable."

He reveals a certain sense of humor, and is gifted with communicative skills that connect him to all walks of life, Kiani said. The play "is completely narrative, dramatic and filled with suspense."

The director has coordinated with the Fajr Theater Festival secretariat to stage the play on the final nights of the event. It will then go on show for the public at Tehran City Theater. The cast is yet to be decided.

Iran holds the Fajr International Film, Theater, Music and Visual Arts festivals every year during January-February to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The call for entries for the 35th edition (2017) of the festival opened on June 1.

  Little Knowledge About His Life

Little is known about Saadi’s life with absolute certainty. Even the earliest references to him in external sources differ in important details, and although Saadi’s own writings, especially the Bustan and Golestan, contain many purportedly autobiographical reminiscences, a good number of these are historically implausible and are probably fictionalized or cast in the first-person for rhetorical effect.

First-person anecdotes have the narrator taken prisoner by the Crusaders in Syria (Golestan,) and murdering a temple priest in India (Bustan). Despite efforts of scholars such as H. Massé and British orientalist J. A. Boyle, the effort to recreate an exact itinerary of his travels from his works is misguided. After a careful sifting of the evidence, Iranian historian Homa Katuzian concludes that it is probable that Saadi visited Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and the Arabian Peninsula.

When Saadi returned to Shiraz around 1257 AD after some 30 years of travel, he was apparently already a famous and highly respected poet, a fame that must have been based on the wide circulation of his masterful 'ghazals' (a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain), according to excerpts from the Encyclopedia Iranica.