A Discussion with Mohsen Yalfani
Join us for a discussion with Mohsen Yalfani about his life, work, and the recent reading of his play “Diaspora,” directed by Shabnam Tolouei at Stanford University. Ms. Tolouei will join the conversation as well. Discussion is in Persian.
Watch the play reading of "Diaspora" on the Iranian Studies YouTube channel.
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.
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.
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 February 8, 2023.