After more than a years’ worth of work we -as in Boston Experimental Theatre- shared our work with the audience via YouTube and the work was welcomed by the curious eyes. So here’s some remarks by some of them:
A review by Broadway World Boston’s Andrew Child
“Artistic director Vahdat Yeganeh has adapted, along with strong collaborators, a narrative from Abul-Qâsem Ferdowsi’s ancient Persian epic, Shahnameh as an experimental duet between an actor and a jazz musician. Right away, the source material is engaging, fantastical, and speculative. For a western audience, this seems the equivalent of boiling down The Odyssey or The Suppliants to its philosophical barebones and staging it with two performers in a black box space.”
Click here for full review.
From various members of audience:
“Thank you to BETC for sharing this fascinating story on YouTube! For those of you who don’t know this Persian myth, as I didn’t before watching this, I recommend watching the production twice. It is worth it as the richness of the production increases the second time and no doubt the third too… Bravo to Donya and Engin-the performers. The shadow work is beautiful.”
Heather Waters-editor at The Theatre Times
“This show reaches into the bones and invites of the breath and is worth embracing mutliple times. This performance, the music, the lighting, the pacing, the voice, the prose, presence and power is … forever something I will remember in an embodied and soulful way. The cinematography is also marvelous. Please please make a moment to light a candle, breathe in some breaths and engage in this story. Please please support the Boston Experimental Theatre company! I can’t wait to see what they do next!”
Tamera Marko-Executive Director of the Elma Lewis Center, Emerson College
“I really enjoyed this production, well done! Located at the inerstices of theatre, music, and storytelling, it wove a compelling story with movement and sound. Also, the foregrounding the piano player allowed us to enjoy both the story and the artistry of the telling. You should include a link here where people can donate to Boston Experimental Theatre and support more innovative work!”
Dr. Robert Lublin-Professor of Theatre Arts, College of Liberal Arts, University of Massachusetts Boston
“I found the production of Zahhak quite revealing of how the language of mythology has different energies and transformations across cultures. There is much to explore in the way Vahdat Yeganeh’s theatrical sensibility has been shaped by his exposure to archetypes in the Iranian context. And this finds expression in their use of color and the strange affinity with the dream-like score of the piano.
At one level, it is minimalist relying on a storytelling idiom to the accompaniment of the piano. But it is this very crystallization of the basics that makes the myth come alive in very sharp and arresting registers. I found myself compelled to listen to each and every word for which the actor must be given due credit for holding the performance so effortlessly without any cuts. So one felt the sense of “real” performance time.
The music was exquisite. Such an interesting choice for the musical score, so far removed from the more predictable beating of drums. In its glacial, almost Debussy-like coolness and detachment, one felt the story more deeply because the piano acted like a counterpoint. It gave the myth a contemporary edge.
In addition, there were some magical moments in the lighting which I am sure will be enhanced once the director get to finalize his mise-en-scene. At all costs, the staging needs to retain its intimacy because it is in this space that the myth of Zahhak becomes real and, at the same time, distinctly theatrical in an understated, yet elegant, enactment in recreating the myth.
My warmest good wishes to all in the company, and a special warm embrace for Mr. Yeganeh as he keeps his creativity alive in these stressful times.”
Rustom Bharucha-writer, director and cultural critic, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.