Director merges plays by Tennessee Williams and Persian writer to stage “extraordinary performance”

July 24, 2020 - 19:2

TEHRAN – Iranian director/actor Hamed Sheikhi has merged Persian play “Shut up, Honey!” and American playwright Tennessee Williams’ “The Case of the Crushed Petunias” and “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen” to make an “extraordinary performance” for the audiences.

Sheikhi himself, Sharareh Sabur and Yeganeg Sarvari are acting in the play named “Talk to Me”, which is currently on stage at Tehran’s Malek Theater.

“I want to tell the audiences that I’ve done my best to present them with an extraordinary play,” Sheikhi told the Persian service of Honaronline on Thursday.

“Its poster and pictures or interviews on the play will never help guess what will be happening in the performance,” he added.

“I planned to stage the plays separately and we also did some rehearsals, but since all the plays have something in common and all focus on divine and mundane matters, I decided to write a new play based on the three dramas,” he stated.

He wrote the play during the home quarantine for coronavirus and held some rehearsals virtually and onstage to prepare for the performances, which have been running since July 15.  

Sheikhi who is opposed to the shutdown of theaters during the pandemic said, “To prevent the spread of the virus, it is better to close metros and ban unnecessary gatherings in bazaars.”

“I staged this play to show my love of theater; I don’t like seeing theaters empty of people,” he noted and added that online theaters and film screenings will lead to the closure of cinemas and theaters.

“Talk to Me” tells the story of a writer who loses his divine love, which is his wife, due to some of his worldly issues.

Sheikhi wrote the play based on Iranian writer Mohammad Salehala’s play “Shut up, Honey!” and Williams’ “The Case of the Crushed Petunias” and “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen”.

The Case of the Crushed Petunias was written in 1941 and is the story of Miss Dorothy Simple, proprietor of the Simple Notions Shop in Primanproper, Mass. who has barricaded her house and heart behind a double row of petunias. Today, however, she has awakened to find every single petunia crushed by the footprints of a size-eleven-D shoe. When the perpetrator, a young man, arrives to confess his crime, he comes on a mission to alert Miss Dorothy to the miraculous accident of being alive. Armed with poetry, seeds for wild roses, and a business card from “LIFE, Incorporated," the young man endeavors to convince Miss Dorothy of the tremendous inspiration that lies beyond what one can buy or sell in a shop with four walls.

Written in 1953, “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen” is about two unnamed characters, Man and Woman, living in a crumbling flat on the Lower East Side. He is a drunk, and she is purposefully wasting away - but between them there is an intimacy of desperation.

Photo: A scene from “Talk to Me” at Tehran’s Malek Theater. (Payamekhabari/A.A. Ez’hari Khoskhkar)


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