(Persia Digest) - A play entitled "Like Sleep, Like Dream" that deals with the role of women in contemporary Iranian history has been on stage for a few days now in Tehran's Mehr Theater.
Mohammad Ghasemi, the actor and director of the play, talked to Persia Digest reporter about the content of his work and the reason for choosing it: “In this play, I tried to explain the role of women in the history of Iran in four episodes since Kashf-e hijab [Unveiling of women] by Reza Khan [Pahlvai I] until the end of the Iraq-Iran war. In Reza Khan’s era, there was a negative and selfish view of women, and although women followed a new path from the Revolution to the Iraq-Iran war, very little attention was still paid to them.”
In response to a question about the identity of women in terms of the hijab in the formation of the 1979 Revolution, he said: “As a writer, I look at this subject from an artistic point of view. There is no difference between a woman who went to the battlefield wearing a hijab shouting slogans, and someone who did not wear the hijab and was involved in the Revolution through the intellectual movement. The women who shouted slogans on the streets were identical with those who had begun under-the-skin battles in society, the same intellectual revolution that was very much popular at the time.”
“Revolutionary and shocking motivations stem from women. Looking at the beginning of Islam, we will find that after the Battle of Karbala, Zaynab bint ʿAli described the events in Karbala through rozeh-khani [Islamic hymns to mourn Karbala martyrs] at women’s gatherings, and most of the narrations have been orally transmitted accordingly,” he continued.
“Iran was the same during the Iraq-Iran war; for example, a mother who encouraged her son to fight for the homeland, would put aside her feminine elements and maternal and child-loving instincts to achieve an intellectual mentality,” he added.
“As for directional style and writing, I always try to write plays that do not have a conclusion, where the audience can draw their own conclusions by comparing and sympathizing with the story,” the director commented on the impact of the play "Like Sleep, Like Dream" on the audience and the feedback it received.
“I disagree with compulsion on anything, because it is not effective at all. However, the image portrayed on the role and position of women in Iran by the Western media is a black one, giving a different image of the position and role of women in our society,” Ghasemi said about the portrayal of women’s role and position in Iranian society by Western media regarding the issue of hijab.
The social constraints of women are now fewer than the past, so that the presence of women has become very prominent in the economic, media, and artistic domains since 2006, and women are much freer in today’s society, which is very different with the black image portrayed by the Western media.
It is worth noting that the play "Like Sleep, Like Dream" is directed and written by Mohammad Ghasemi. Pari Barani, Mohammad Ghasemi, Rasta Razavi, Farid Taheri, and Meysam Mohammadi act in this play. It is staged from 29 May to 14 June every evening at 19h30 in the Mehr Playhouse.
Click here for more arts and cultural news.