Art And Culture

Shaffer Play in Persian

Referring to a piano exercise with all five fingers of the hand, the play has five characters that ‘exorcise’ their conflicts.Referring to a piano exercise with all five fingers of the hand, the play has five characters that ‘exorcise’ their conflicts.

A play titled ‘Five Finger Exercise’ written by Peter Shaffer (1926-2016), the English writer of several award-winning plays, is now available in Persian.

Two translators, Ali Reza Jamalimanesh, with expertise in English literature, sociological theories and pragmatics, and Shiva Gerami have converted the English drama into Persian.

The Persian translation has been released by Chatrang Publication, a publishing house in Tehran focusing on literature and cinema, Mehr News Agency reported.

Written in 1958, the play is a clever and symbolic reference to a piano exercise in which all five fingers of the hand play a musical composition primarily designed for the exercise, according to ‘e notes,’ a website for study guiding (

The play has five characters that must ‘exorcise’ their conflicts. Shaffer has admitted the autobiographical nature of the play, stating in the preface that it “expressed a great deal of my own family tensions and also a desperate need to stop feeling invisible.”

The play is about the Harrington family, who are spending a holiday together in their cottage in Suffolk, England. There is a snobbish mother, Louise, who fancies herself as an aristocrat; a working class father, Stanley, who has done quite well for himself and his family in the furniture business; a troubled and sensitive son, Clive, who is just entering college, drinks too much, and is trying to find himself; and a smart-mouthed, feisty, 14-year-old daughter, Pamela.

 The fifth character is a young German music tutor, Walter, employed by the Harringtons to teach Pamela to play piano. Walter acts as a catalyst for the family in bringing their underlying resentments out into the open for discussion and resolution.


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