Art And Culture

Koohestani’s Multilingual Play on Stage in Germany

An adaptation of Kamel Daoud’s 2013 novel ‘The Meursault Investigation’ which was a retelling of Albert Camus’s 1942 novel, ‘The Stranger’, Koohestani’s play departs from Camus’ coldness and Daoud’s sentimentality and is narrated cautiously and comically
Koohestani’s Multilingual Play on Stage in GermanyKoohestani’s Multilingual Play on Stage in Germany

Amir Reza Koohestani’s newest play ‘The Case of Meursault’ is currently on stage at the Kammerspielen Theater in Munich, Germany.

Written and directed by Koohestani, the play is an adaptation of the Algerian writer Kamel Daoud’s novel ‘The Meursault Investigation’, Mehr News Agency reported.

It is a retelling of the famous French author Albert Camus’s 1942 novel, ‘The Stranger’. First published in Algeria in 2013, Daoud’s novel was reissued in France in 2014. Its publication in France was followed by nominations for many prizes and awards.

In ‘The Stranger’ the main character Meursault shoots a young man in Algeria, an Arab man without a name or identity. However, in his novel, Daoud has given him a name, a brother and a mother who oppose the degradation of the victim.

Koohestani’s dramatization is more concrete and less complex than the original story. He has adopted a different attitude to the narration, using simple means such as Persian carpets and sand and created a very poetic atmosphere.

In his work, Koohestani departs from Camus’ coldness and Daoud’s sentimentality. His version is told cautiously and comically with many grotesque scenes not mentioned in the novel.

Without any bitterness, he asks how a single event can not only destroy the ‘balance of the day’ (as Camus said in his novel), but a whole society.

Mahin Sadri is the only Iranian member of the cast who plays the role of the mother. The rest of the actors come from very different cultural backgrounds, hailing from Germany, Bulgaria and Lebanon. However, the multilingualism of the performance, in which the actors speak Farsi, German, Bulgarian and Arabic does not disturb and is quite interesting for the audience.

The performance has been well received by German theater critics who have written rave reviews on it, praising the fine adaptation, directorship, acting and set design.

  International Fame

Koohestani, 38, was born in Shiraz, Iran. His second play ‘The Murmuring Tales’ (2000) attracted critical acclaim in Tehran, during the 18th International Fajr Theater Festival.

With his third play, ‘Dance on Glasses’ (2001), in tour for four years, Koohestani gained international fame and found the support of several European theatrical artistic directors and festivals.

His next works ‘Recent Experiences’ (2003), ‘Amid the Clouds’ (2005), ‘Dry Blood & Fresh Vegetables’ (2007) and ‘Quartet: A Journey North’ (2008), were all successfully welcomed in Europe.

Koohestani was commissioned by the Schauspielhaus in Koln, where he wrote and staged ‘Einzelzimmer’ (2006). After two years of study in Manchester, he returned to Tehran in 2009 and created the play ‘Where Were You on January 8th?’ which has been on tour in Brazil, Japan and Europe.

In 2011, he created the adaptation of ‘Ivanov’ by the renowned Russian playwright Anton Chekhov and successfully staged it in Tehran for several weeks. In 2012, the movie ‘Modest Reception’, the script of which was co-written by Koohestani and Mani Haghighi - actor and director of the film - won the Netpac Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

In 2013, he wrote and directed ‘Timeloss’. It has been successfully staged across Europe, in New York and Los Angeles. His last play ‘Hearing’ was premiered in Tehran in 2015 and now is on tour in Europe.

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