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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Theatre Thursday: Hedonistic Hedda

On Tuesday, Iranian officials suspended a production of the 120-year-old Ibsen play, Hedda Gabler, in Tehran on the basis that it was "vulgar" and "hedonistic." A ban has been imposed on the play, the actors were called before the Iranian chief prosecutor, and a new office has been established to police the arts in a "crackdown" on cultural affairs in the country. (Kinda puts the Colorado smoking ban in perspective, huh?)
You can read more about the story here.
The show had been running for about a week before governmental officials closed it - in part for a scene in which a man almost kisses a woman who is not his wife. (Physical contact between men and women who are not related is banned in Iran.) The chief prosecutor also objected to the fact that the production was based on a western play full of "nihilistic" ideals.
I decided to write about this today, because I just wanted to remind theatre folk in this country just how free we are to produce new and bold works that challenge conformity and traditionalism. Audiences here will not be barred from entering a theater because the play inside does not fit within the ideals of the local church or the government. In this country we have freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and we can use that freedom to push against barriers of prejudice and conventionalism with controversial or thought-provoking drama.
Or Sound of Music. Whichever. The point is, we have a choice.
For those needing a quick refresher on Hedda Gabler, I found a quick adaptation in . . . Lego.
Um, spoilers?

1 comment:

Prof. Jenn said...

LEGO Hedda Gabler????