Art And Culture

Reminiscences of Old Tehran

Poster of  ‘Old Songs: Peykan Javanan’
Poster of  ‘Old Songs: Peykan Javanan’

Theater director Mohammad Rahmanian’s latest work ‘Old Songs: Peykan Javanan’ opened at Shahrzad Theater in Tehran on November 20, bringing on stage a real Peykan, an automobile in Iran produced by the local company Iran Khodro between 1967 and 2005. The term ‘javanan’ means the youth.

The so-called Paykan for the youth was highly popular in its heydays in the 1970s.

“It (the show) was prepared in seven episodes which would take three hours on stage,” Rahmanian said. However, “considering the audiences’ tolerance, they cannot sit and watch a show for three hours.” So the current performance is reduced to five episodes in 110 minutes (less than two hours), ISNA reported.

Rahmanian staged his Old Songs three years ago in 2012, which was highly welcomed. The play was performed 110 times in different locations including ECO Cultural Institute, Vahdat Hall and Milad Tower.

Old Songs was about buildings and locations such as Milad Tower, Imamzadeh Saleh (a shrine in north Tehran), cafes and parks in Tehran.

However, his new play Old Songs: Peykan Javanan is “the story of the places which are no more; those that were demolished, forgotten or their functions have changed,” Rahmanian said.

“Not so long ago, there were promenades and recreational places in Tehran like the Funfair on Vanak Square and drive-in cinemas in Tehran Pars district and another one on Vanak Square which opened in 1967 and 1969 respectively. Today all of these cease to exist.”

The Pepsi Cola Bottling Plant in former Eisenhower Street (present day Azadi Street) was one of those promenades where people used to gather and spend time. Children would look through the huge glass walls of the factory and enjoy seeing how the cola bottles got filled by the big machines.

He referred to Municipality (shahrdari) Cafe at Vali-e-Asr crossroad as the most important to him. The cafe was destroyed in 1967 to build City Theater. “Each one of these places are part of contemporary history of Tehran in the show,” Rahmanian says.

Peykan was a popular car in Iran from the late 1960s to mid 1980s and it was seen a lot throughout the big cities including old Tehran.

Reza Yazdani, Ehsan Karami and Hana Kamkar are the singers in the play. Mahtab Nasirpour, Afshin Hashemi and Houman Barqnavard and Sina Razani are in the cast.

Shahrzad Theater, located at the junction of Razi and Neauphle-le-Château streets, will host the show for three weeks.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints