Diaspora: A Tale of Transcendence (a play reading)
Join us for a reading of Mohsen Yalfani’s play “Diaspora: A Tale of Transcendence,” directed by Shabnam Tolouei and starring Ms. Tolouei, Ali Zandiyeh, Amer Mosafer, Negar Monazzami, and Theo Sepanta. After the performance, Mr. Yalfani will join Ms. Tolouei via Zoom for a discussion with the audience about the play.
Please note: event is in Persian.
About the play:
“With a backdrop of ten years of exile and a past colored and imbued by political fractions, emotional separations, imprisonments, potential executions, and....five lives—that of two women, a child, and two men—are fatefully entangled. Resolving this web of tangles necessitates an understanding and acceptance of a course of action, tantamount to going beyond self-interest, and kissing goodbye to all the niceties of which we currently avail ourselves. One of the women is absent from the stage, and the child is not a participant in this decision making. Of the three remaining, which one is endowed with the required moral and spiritual strength to put forth and act upon such a decision?”
Shabnam Tolouei is an award-winning actress, playwright, and director. Born in Tehran, she was forced into exile in 2004 and became a naturalized French citizen in 2019. She has studied filmmaking in Tehran, Bagh-Ferdos Film School and Theatre Studies at Université Paris X, Nanterre, France.
She has been writing short stories for cultural magazines since 1990, acting and writing plays since 1993, and teaching acting for camera since 2001. She continues her career outside Iran as an actress, filmmaker, and playwright.
Mohsen Yalfani was born in 1943 in Hamadan, Iran. He wrote his first plays in his last year in high school and submitted one to the Center for Dramatic Arts in Tehran and won a prize for it. At the age of 18 he moved to Tehran, and while studying at the Teachers' Training College, another of his plays won the same prize. This play was staged in the major theater in Tehran in 1966.
Yalfani wrote several one act plays that were published in literary magazines and produced for Iranian television. In 1970 he wrote “The Teachers” which was staged in Tehran. The play was stopped by the Shah’s SAVAK and Yalfani along with the director, Saeid Soltanpoor, were arrested and spent three months in prison. Henceforth, all of Yalfani’s plays were prohibited from being staged or published.
In 1973, while collaborating with the Iran Theatre Association, he was arrested, along with his coworkers and friends, and imprisoned for four years. In prison, he translated and adapted the book Voice and the Actor by Cicely Berry and wrote his one-act play “On the Beach.”
When released in 1978, Yalfani collaborated with the Iranian Writers' Association (of which he was elected as a member of the secretariat). After the Islamic Regime’s crackdown on democratic associations, Yalfani left Iran, in disguise, and sought political asylum in France.
Ali Zandiyeh studied dramatic literature in Iran. After immigrating to the United States, he became a member of Professor Bahram Beyzaie’s theater group at Iranian studies, Stanford University, and appeared in “Ardaviraf’s Report”, “Tarabnameh” and “Crossroads.”
Amer Mosafer is an actor, theater director, dancer, and choreographer. Beginning his artistic career in 1992 as an actor, he has now participated in more than 30 theatrical productions in Iran as well as in the U.S. He is versed in Iranian folk, modern, and contemporary dance forms and has been choreographer of eight drama projects, and director of three plays.
Negar Monazzami has her BA in acting from Azad University. She began acting in 1999 at the acting institution of Hamid Smandarian and performed in multiple plays, shows, and films including the film “Shirin” by Abbas Kiarostami. She currently lives in San Jose, CA.
Théo Sepanta was born in France in 2009 and attended his first dramatic art classes in Paris at the age of 4. He has already acted in two films. Mr. Yalfani's play-reading is his first appearance in a professional theatrical project.
Negar Asef as technical assistant.
Part of the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts.
If you need a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact us at iranianstudies [at] stanford.edu (iranianstudies[at]stanford[dot]edu). Requests should be made by November 23, 2022.