Be tested for HIV to watch “Monkey” on Reza Abdoh

September 16, 2019

TEHRAN – Vahid Rahjuy and Hossein Maleki, the directors and writers of “Monkey”, have arranged for theatergoers to be tested for HIV and informed about AIDS voluntarily at no cost before and after watching the play that is about the Iranian-American theater director Reza Abdoh who died of the disease in 1995 at the age of 32.

“In collaboration with the Health Ministry, several medical teams are present in the courtyard of the Molavi Theater to test theatergoers for HIV and give them information about AIDS,” Rahjuy told the Persian service of Honaronline on Saturday.

“One of the play’s aims is to educate people about AIDS and raise their knowledge of the disease as well as to improve the treatment of those people who are suffering from AIDS,” he noted. 

The documentary play tells the story of a theater student who decides to write his thesis on the plays staged by Abdoh, but his research on the subject leads him to a new path in his life.

“This play is the outcome of several months of research about AIDS and dialogues with people with HIV from all walks of life,” Rahjuy said, and added that the play gives the audience a real insight into the interactions among people, the disease and environment.

He also said, “This is the first time a play focuses on the life of one of the most important Iranian directors in the American avant-garde theater. He has been acknowledged in the West, but unfortunately, is unknown in Iran.”

Abdoh, writer and director of acclaimed plays such as “The Hip-Hop Waltz of Eurydice”, died in 1995.

“Relentlessly inventive, he pushed his actors and audiences to their limits amid ambitious, unusual, disorienting stage sets. Abdoh’s aesthetic language borrowed from fairy tales, BDSM, talk shows, raves, video art, and the history of avant-garde theater,” the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York wrote about him in June 2018 when it hosted an exhibition on Abdoh.

Photo: Behnam Hassanpur acts in a scene from “Monkey”. (Tiwall/Sara Saqafi)

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