Art And Culture

Working Children in Brecht Play

Working Children in Brecht PlayWorking Children in Brecht Play

Iranian theater director and actor Majid Rahmati is rehearsing a play by Brecht with working children.

Amidst the excitement of the upcoming Mobarak International Puppet Festival (August 22-28), a theater group comprising street children is rehearsing 'He Who Says Yes, He Who Says No,' a play by German poet, playwright and theater director Bertolt Brecht, to be held in October, Honaronline reported.

Rahmati, 38, is working with four children, all boys, at the City Theater of Tehran to prepare the play for a public showing from October 16-28.

Since last year, he has been in contact with some of the children from the Yasser Center for Supporting Labor and Street Children, one of the oldest such centers in Iran.

"I saw their lives and I can’t blame any specific organization or persons for their condition, including the State Welfare Organization which cannot add theater to its agenda as it already has enough on its hands."

Rahmati said he has been preoccupied with the Brecht play from his university days. In the play, Brecht deals with the question of mutual responsibility of the society towards social issues.

Plot of the Story

The story is about an epidemic that breaks out in a remote village. A local teacher with his students embarks on a dangerous journey over the mountains in search of doctors to get advice and medicine from them.

In spite of the teacher's warning, a young boy, whose mother suffers from an illness, decides to take part in the expedition. During the tedious journey, the boy himself becomes ill.

At some point, he cannot go further, nor can his friends carry him. The team should make a decision: return in order to save the boy's life, or sacrifice him for the sake of the others. The boy's choice, yes or no, decides the ending of the play's two episodes.

For the weaker strata it is always a challenge to procure their basic requirements of food and medicine. "There are sections of the people in our society who are underprivileged. Their families are trapped in the horrible social predicaments, including drug addiction and other social harm which I prefer not to mention," Rahmati said. The play portrays the reality which deprived children face.

"On the first day of practice, I told the children the theme of the play, but didn't finish it. I will let them tell the rest of the story. The second part is pretty much the same as what Brecht has written."

"Last year when I met the boys, I realized how they were fascinated by theater. So I brought them together in an improvisational etude and saw them starting to express themselves. This encouraged me to start the project," the news website quoted him as saying.