Anton Chekhov “A Marriage Proposal” adapted for Tehran stage

May 16, 2022 - 19:5

TEHRAN – A stage reading of a loose adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s comic play “A Marriage Proposal” was performed at the Sureh Hall of the Art Bureau on Monday.

The reading was performed in Gilaki accent, spoken in the northern Iranian province of Gilan, by a cast comprising Farhad Besharati, Mozaffar Qorbannejad, Fariba Dastvareh, Hamidreza Tubai and Hamidreza Moradi.

Azim Musavi adapted the play for the performance, and this loose modern adaptation was staged by him at Tehran’s Sangalaj Theater in 2017, director Reza Gilanpur said in a press release.

This adaptation is about the ceremony for a marriage proposal in the village. The guests talk about everything except the marriage proposal issue at the ceremony.    

“By performing this reading I intended to make the Art Bureau recognize this genre of dramatic art. Although, the bureau was once the favorite haunt of people interested in such performances,” Gilanpur noted.

The one-act farce, written in 1888–1889 and first performed in 1890, follows a young man Lomov who comes to propose to his neighbor Natalya but they both keep on fighting on various topics.

“A Marriage Proposal” has been hugely popular in Iran, and consequently, it has been staged by numerous troupes across the country.

An Iranian troupe directed by Shahin Ramezani performed it in English at the Iran Tamasha Theater in Tehran in 2019.

Actor and director Hassan Majuni, the founder of Hamun Theater in Rasht, inaugurated the hall with a performance of “A Marriage Proposal” in 2017. 
“The Proposal” was successful in its first runs in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and quickly became popular in small towns across Russia.

Tsar Alexander III liked the play when he had it performed for him. Chekhov himself thought farces were not really worth much as literature; before its success, he called “The Proposal” a “wretched, boring, vulgar little skit.”

Photo: A poster for a stage reading of Anton Chekhov’s “A Marriage Proposal” at Sureh Hall.