Hedda in Iran (Ibsen)

In 2013 Visjoner Teater and Juni Dahr were guests at the Iranian Fadjr Festival in Teheran with the performance «Ibsen Women – put an eagle in a cage» were she won the Fadjr Festivals Prize of Honor for the performance. This opened doors and started a very interesting contact with the Iranian theatre community. But before that Professor Farin Zahedi introduced Juni Dahr to the Persian culture and to the Fadjr Festival, and a close artistic friendship between these two women began.

In 2014 Visjoner hosted a delegation of Iranian actors and directors to be our guests during the Ibsen Festival in Oslo, and gradually a collaborative artistic exchange between Iranian and Norwegian theatre artists through seminars, and Ibsen performances in Iran and Norway started to develop. And in 2015 a team from Visjoner Teater, together with PAHN (Performing Arts Hub Norway), visited the Fadjr Festival holding a number of workshops and lectures, seeing performances and meeting up with the local actors and directors.

The Fadjr Int Festival 2016 hosted «Hedda Gabler at the Massoudieh Historical Building”. This was a very important step in our collaboration with Iran. In September 2016 Visjoner Teater organized a two day seminar during The International Ibsen Festival in Oslo to strengthen the artistic collaboration with Farin Zahedi and Massoud Rayegani and to open up for a discussion on what it means for western artist to perform in Iran.

Photos

Photos by Pardis Kavoosi

A network based upon creative collaborative work between the Persian and Norwegian theatre has gradually emerged and Farin Zahedi points out an interesting result of this collaboration: -It’s worth to notice that since the beginning of the collaborative projects of the Visjoner Theatre and the Iranian counterpart, there has been a great tendency by young artists to produce Ibsen plays along with various academic research projects throughout different universities in Iran. 

In Iran, our Hedda Gabler was interpreted into a more societal context: Woman caught by society’s expectations and attempted held back by the men surrounding her. She can not play the role she really wants in her own life. She looks into a human world and wants a more free position. Women and men in Iran are experiencing strong constraints resembling Hedda’s daily life.

Artistically it was an exciting challenge to do the performance with necessary cultural adaptation: Costumes must cover the head and neck, certain scenes must be customized so the men and the women don’t touch each other. We found that through these constraints new interesting ways to express intimacy and flirtation emerged. We also found it is significant to visit Iran with performances, impulses from abroad are very welcome by the public and artists. Our participation in Iran also caused a debate in Norwegian press, and gave us the opportunity for discussions and also to do the Iranian version of the performance in Oslo.

Credits

Artistic director and performance concept: Juni Dahr

Text: Henrik Ibsen
Text adaption: Juni Dahr and Tonje Gotschalksen
Directing by: Juni Dahr and Tonje Gotschalksen, in collaboration with the actors

Hedda Gabler: Juni Dahr
Jørgen Tesman: Lars Øyno
Eilert Løvborg: Hauk Heyerdahl
Judge Brack: Robert Skjærstad/Kai Remlov/Bjørn Skagestad
Thea Elvsted: Nina Woxholtt

Costumes: Silje Fjellberg
Producer: Marianne Roland

Supported by: Arts Council Norway, FFUK, FFLB, Fritt Ord, Bergesenstiftelsen, DKS i Oslo, Ministery of Foreign Affairs.