Art And Culture

Parody on Romulus the Great

A scene from 'Throne of the Dead, a Parody'A scene from 'Throne of the Dead, a Parody'

'Throne of the Dead, a Parody' by theater director Seyyed Hassan Husseini is on stage at Tehran's Mehrab Hall.

It is an adaptation of Romulus the Great: A Historical Comedy in Four Acts written by Swiss author and dramatist Friedrich Durrenmatt (1921-1990), who was a proponent of epic theater.

In 2009, Husseini watched an earlier adaptation of the original play, directed by writer, playwright, theater director, critic and theoretician Nader Borhani Marand, and was inspired by it. He decided to stage his own adaptation and asked young writer and playwright Sara Elahian to script "a grim comedy portraying power games and injustice."

Durrenmatt's play is not bound by time or space. "It tells about human faults" that are found in every being, Husseini, 35, told Theater Online.

The play is grotesque and the result of numerous sessions between the director and the playwright. "It takes great courage to work on a globally known masterpiece," Husseini said.

"For years Elahian had done studies on Romulus the Great to be able to come out with an Iranian adaptation," he said, and credited her with the comic moments in the show.

"Qajar era (1785-1925) is reconstructed in the play; but the characters are not real. We all know what befell the country in that era."

Throne of the Dead has the same plot of Romulus the Great, but deviates in rendering of characters and situations. Qajar court connections and the character of a jester have also been added to the play. The music is rooted in the Qajar modal systems. The décor is composed of symbolic elements, representing the main hall of the palace, interior quarters and the king's sleeping room. Their designs are expressionistic, he added.

The acts are figurative, rather burlesque. Cast members are Mehran Shoja, Milad Nazari, Niloufar Jirdehi, Alireza Yazdani, Adineh Semnani, Mahsan Ataee, Mohsen Islami, Milad Sayadi, Mahdieh Jalambadani, Hamid Saberi, Jalal Mirvaezi and Salahoddin Esmaili.

The play opened on August 10 and will run through August 31.