“Uncle Vanya” joins “The Seagull” in Iranian story on stage in Tehran 

November 6, 2021 - 18:56

TEHRAN – Iranian writer Arman Tayaran has blended Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” and “The Seagull” and an Iranian story, which is currently on stage at Tehran’s Sangalaj Hall.

The play named “Uncle Vanya’s Seagull” is performed in the form of kheimeh shab-bazi, a style of traditional Iranian puppetry.  

It shows Chekhov planning to travel to Iran in search of the seagull, which has come to the country earlier.

Hossein Heidaripur is the director of the play and Hossein Mohammadi, Mehdi Alinejad, Hamed Sheikhi, Hossein Karami, Mahshid Gudarzi, Reza Hosseinnejad, Bahareh Jahanbani and several other puppeteers are collaborating in it.

A music ensemble composed of vocalist Amir-Hossein Ensafi and tar player Hossein Asadi, tonbak player Negin Mortazavi and kamancheh virtuoso Ali Jabbari is also accompanying the troupe.  

The play had its premiere last Thursday with a tribute to Ezzatollah Mehravaran, a top Iranian actor of stage and screen who died of COVID-19 in October.  

“Uncle Vanya” portrays the visit of an elderly professor and his glamorous, much younger second wife, Yelena, to the rural estate that supports their urban lifestyle. 

Two friends, Vanya, brother of the professor’s late first wife, who has long managed the estate, and Astrov, the local doctor, both fall under Yelena’s spell, while bemoaning the ennui of their provincial existence. 

Sonya, the professor’s daughter by his first wife, who has worked with Vanya to keep the estate going, suffers from her unrequited feelings for Astrov. 

Matters are brought to a crisis when the professor announces his intention to sell the estate, Vanya and Sonya’s home, with a view to investing the proceeds to achieve a higher income for himself and his wife.

In “The Seagull”, the main characters, all artists, are guests at a country estate. They are Mme Arkadina, a middle-aged actress; her lover, Trigorin, a successful writer; her son Konstantin, a writer; and Nina, a young aspiring actress whom Konstantin loves. 

Mme. Arkadina, jealous of Nina’s youth and promising career, acts cruelly and hatefully toward Konstantin, belittling his new play and withholding the approval he desperately seeks from her. 

Nina, impressed by Trigorin’s fame, ignores Konstantin, who kills a seagull and shows it to her, perhaps symbolically referring to his broken dreams. All four go their separate ways, but two years later they are reunited at the same estate. When Nina again rejects Konstantin, he destroys his writings and shoots himself while his mother, unaware, plays cards in another room. 

“The Seagull”, which is generally considered to be the first of Chekhov’s four major plays, and “Uncle Vanya” have been performed by many Iranian troupes.

Photo: A scene from the premiere of the play “Uncle Vanya’s Seagull” at Tehran’s Sangelaj Hall on November 4, 2021. (Theater.ir)  


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