Gordafarid (Storyteller) – Photo credit: Jim Carmody
The interactive video/animation and multi-channel traditional music fused with electronics provide a strong and meaningful context for a form of Iranian storytelling that historically was practiced in the street and coffeehouses around the country using paintings or drawings as the performance backdrop. In this piece, the ever-present tension between the old and the new manifests itself in a sense of awareness in the mind of the audience in relation to traditional roots and values, legitimacy of positions of power in the country, and progressive approaches of the youth to social justice.
Miriam Peretz (Tahmineh) – Photo credit: Jim Carmody
The 1979 Iranian Revolution is widely considered one of the most popular revolutions in history. Many groups from different political inclinations came together to oust Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and, by December 1978, individual protests on the streets of Iran drew close to 10 million anti-Shah demonstrators. Historians have identified these events as potentially the largest protests of their kind in world history. After the consolidation of power by the fundamentalists shortly after the revolution, many groups who fought for the revolution, among them also the leftists who supported the theocratic regime, found themselves in a precarious position. Belonging to one such group, Siavash Kasrai had to flee the country and wrote The Scarlet Stone years later during his time in exile. This adaptation of The Scarlet Stone draws a parallel between the current sociopolitical climate of Iran and Arab rule in the region a thousand years ago, weaving old and new narratives, politics, as well as modern and postmodern aesthetics, all while maintaining a deep commitment to the traditional values of Persian poetry (the most cherished art form in Iran).
Poetry in Iran –
Poetry is widely considered the most powerful form of artistic expression in Iran. Ferdowsi, author of the famous 10th-century epic Shahnameh (the “Book of Kings”), is celebrated as one of the most influential Persian poets of all time. Written over a thousand years ago, Shahnameh revived the Persian language by bringing the ancient oral mythology of the region into poetic form and documenting Persian history before the Arab invasion. Siavash Kasrai, one of the pioneers of 20th century poetry in Iran, conducted a politically active life with specific Marxist political inclinations. In his last major work, The Scarlet Stone, Kasrai portrays the struggles of his own life, the movement of the left, and what he believed to be any heroic act based on infatuation and righteousness, in the context of the most famous mythological story of Iran, Rostam and Sohrab.
Rostam is the most beloved and strongest hero of Iran, and Sohrab is his love child, whom Rostam kills in the battlefield in ignorance. The story of Rostam and Sohrab was originally preserved in the epic Shahnameh. In Kasrai’s work, the mythological character Sohrab confronts the author of Shahnameh, Ferdowsi, regarding his premature and tragic death, and ponders the meaning (or meaninglessness) of his futile quest for peace and justice. This question resonates with many who fought for the 1979 revolution.
left-to-right: Afshin Mofid (Rostam) & Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam (Sohrab) – Photo credit: Jim Carmody
• Sohrab – Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam
Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam is widely acclaimed as a dancer, choreographer, and member of La Comedie Française who is credited with keeping Iranian Dance alive in America and Europe, at a time when it is forbidden in his own country.
See bio below and here: http://scarletstone.com/shahrokh-moshkin-ghalam.
• Storyteller, Ferdowsi – Gordafarid
Gordafarid is the very first female naqqal (Iranian epic storyteller) in the history of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, challenging conventional social norms.
See bio here: http://scarletstone.com/Gordafarid.
• Rostam – Afshin Mofid
Afshin Mofid is the only Iranian-born dancer to ever star in New York City Ballet productions under George Balanchine.
See bio here: http://scarletstone.com/afshin-mofid.
• Gordafarid – Ida Saki
Ida Saki was named New York City Dance Alliance’s outstanding dancer of the year and one of Dance Magazine‘s Top 25 to watch in 2013.
See bio here: http://scarletstone.com/ida-saki.
• Tahmineh – Miriam Peretz
Miriam Peretz has been a principle dancer with Inbal Ethnic Dance Theater Company, Wan-Chao Chang Dance Company, as well as a featured soloist in festivals throughout the US, Europe, and the Middle East.
See bio here: http://scarletstone.com/miriam-peretz.
• Adaptation, Direction, Composition & Sound Design – Shahrokh Yadegari
See bio below and here: http://scarletstone.com/shahrokh-yadegari.
• Choreography & Costume Design – Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam
See bio below and here: http://scarletstone.com/shahrokh-moshkin-ghalam.
• Set, Interactive Projections & Design – Ian Wallace
See bio here: http://scarletstone.com/ian-wallace.
• Lighting Design – Wen-Ling Liao
See bio here: http://scarletstone.com/Wenling-Liao.
Shahrokh Yadegari –
Shahrokh Yadegari is a composer, director, and sound designer who has collaborated with such artists as Peter Sellars, Robert Woodruff, Ann Hamilton, Christine Brewer, Gabor Tompa, Maya Beiser, Steven Schick, David Schweizer, Lucie Tiberghien, Hossein Omoumi, and Siamak Shajarian. He has performed and his productions, compositions, and designs have been presented internationally in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Festival of Arts and Ideas, OFF-D’Avignon Festival, International Theatre Festival in Cluj, Romania, Ravinia Festival, Ruhr-Triennale, Vienna Festival, Holland Festival, Forum Barcelona, Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Japan America Theatre, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), the Institut fur Neue Musik und Musikerziehung (Darmstadt), Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, and Contemporary Museum of Art, San Diego.
Yadegari is on the faculty of the department of Theatre and Dance at University of California, San Diego, where he has founded a progressive program in sound design and composition. He is also the director of the Initiative for Digital Exploration of Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) at the Qualcomm Institute. See full bio here: http://scarletstone.com/shahrokh-yadegari.
Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam –
Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam graduated from the University of Paris VIII with a degree in the History of Art and Theatre. He specializes in Middle Eastern folklore and mystical dance and has a deep interest in Indian, Indonesian, and Flamenco dances. Moshkin Ghalam joined the renowned Théâtre du Soleil in 1991, where he played lead roles in Ariane Mnouchkine’s productions of Tartuffe, La ville perjure, and Les Atrides. In 1997, he established the Nakissa Dance Company and created A Persian Night’s Dream, the Route of the Orient, Nostalgia or Ghassedak, the Seven Pavilions of Love (Haft Peykar), Omar Khayam, Les danses mythologiques, Mani the Buddha of Light, Rumi le brûlé, and Hafez.
He has appeared in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Christophe Rauck; Romeo and Juliette, directed by Lionel Briand; The Baccantes by Euripides, directed by Usevio Lazaro; A Soldier’s Tale by Stravinsky; La diva d’Auschwitz, directed by Antoine Campo; A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, directed by Phillip Adrian; and Kidnapping at the Seraglioby Mozart, directed by Jérome Deschamps and Macha Makeïef. His directorial credits include Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis in Persian (Zohreh va Manouchehr); Mardha va Chiz (Men and the Thing); and Kafané Siah (Black Shroud). Since January 2005, Moshkin Ghalam has been an official member of the Comédie Fançaise with appearances in Le Sicilien by Lully-Molière, directed by Jean-Marie Villégier; La Maison des Morts by Philippe Minyana, directed by Robert Cantarella; and Pedro et le Commandeur by Felix Lope de Vega, directed by Omar Porras. See full bio here: http://scarletstone.com/shahrokh-moshkin-ghalam.
left to right: Scarlet Stone performers Ida Saki (Gordafarid) & Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam (Sohrab) – Photo credit: Jim Carmody
The Persian Arts Society –
The Persian Arts Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, presentation, and dissemination of Persian arts in the United States. The Persian Arts Society has presented some of the most prominent musicians, dancers, and artists living in Iran and abroad, and established the first school of Persian traditional music in Los Angeles in 2000.
Royce Hall –
Modeled after Milan’s Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, constructed in the tenth and eleventh centuries, Royce Hall was built in 1929 as one of the first campus structures by architect David Allison. A symbol of both intellectual and artistic excellence, Royce Hall functions not only as a monument to Los Angeles’ rich cultural past, but also as a portal to the future. The extraordinary history of performing arts presentation in Royce Hall is rooted in the late 1930s, when George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Arnold Schoenberg, and Jimmy Dorsey’s Band all performed in Royce Hall. Since then, the list of illustrious artists who have graced Royce Hall’s stage reads like a Who’s Who of performing arts in the 20th and 21st centuries, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, Twyla Tharp, Frank Zappa, Mikhail Baryshnikov, The Philip Glass Ensemble, and Meredith Monk to name a few.
The Scarlet Stone has been in production since the 2009 uprising in Iran and has been generously funded by prestigious grants such as the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, the University of California Research in the Arts Institute Production Grant, UCSD Arts and Humanities Innovation Fund, and by a grant from Chehre-azad Endowment Funds at UC San Diego. KIRN 670 AM Radio Iran and KPFK 90.7 FM are both media sponsors.
• The Scarlet Stone – http://scarletstone.com
• Royce Hall/Tickets – http://www.roycehall.org/calendar/event_detail.asp?id=704
• The Persian Arts Society – http://persianarts.org
• Photos – http://jimcarmody.zenfolio.com/scarletstonela
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For more information, photos, music samples, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201 or email@example.com.
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~ JUST THE FACTS ~
The Scarlet Stone
A multidisciplinary and collaborative music/dance/animation work that merges modern aesthetics with Persian traditions. In Persian with English subtitles. General admission tickets are $35 to $120.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Curtain is at 8:00pm
340 Royce Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Additional performances are in San Diego on August 15, 2015 and in Toronto from August 21 to 23, 2015:
La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Forum at UCSD
Sat. Aug. 15 • 7:30pm • tickets
Tirgan Festival • Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre
Aug. 21, 22, and 23 • tickets