Hearing by Amir Reza Koohestani to be Performed at Festival d’Avignon, July 21-24, 2016
Iranian play Hearing written and directed by Amir Reza Koohestani and produced by Mehr Theatre Group will be the first ever Iranian play that is selected to be performed at Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre Benoit-XII in Avignon, France.
The play depicts the story of university girls living in a dormitory disciplined and monitored under the surveillance of dormitory officials. The girls hear some male voices and start searching for the source of these voices. Their quest is in line with an engaging and intimate journey of remembering and confessing. Through recollecting figments of memories and their alternation with verbal, visual and aural expressions in the present, the line between reality and fiction blurs. The girls enter a Kafkaesque journey to discover the truth. The play also presents to the audience an encounter with the compelling dilemma of personal duty and collective responsibility. Through interweaving verbalism and imagism, Koohestani creates a minimal yet brilliant show that engages the audience in uncovering issues of morality and control in an oppressive environment. “In this play, I want to find a connection between our fate today and that childhood and adolescence which we lived during the war and after that,” Koohestani writes in his notes on the play.
Koohestani’s directorial choice and his subtle theatricality are always sober and simple and get in line with a layered narrative to entangle the audience within the maze of doubt about characters’ identity and their role in forwarding their life story. This theatricality unwaveringly invitation for the audience to self-question about their own positionality vis a vis the choices their socio-cultural circumstances present to them.
Written during a residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany (October 2014-March 2015), Hearing was first staged at Tehran’s City Theater Complex in August 2015 with four actresses. This highly acclaimed performance has toured several European countries and been performed in other festivals including Festival of International New Drama (FIND) in Berlin, Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Bruxelles, Norway’s Oslo International Acting Festival, and Festival delle Colline Torinesi Torino Creazione Contemporanea, Santarcangelo Dei Teatri. It will be staged in France at Festival d’Automne in Paris in October 2016.
Koohestani theatre’s debut to European theatre was through Dance on Glasses in 2001and since then his other works have toured many European cities and theatre festivals. His other works are Ivanov, Timeloss, Amid the Clouds, Where Were You on the January 8th? The Fourth Wall.
For more information on the show at the festival refer to http://www.festival-avignon.com/fr/spectacles/2016/hearing
For more information on Mehr Theatre Group see http://www.mehrtheatregroup.com/
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.