Review of the book Oral History of Drama in Iran

(Based on Oral History Interviews)

Compiled by: Matin Eslahi
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Drama in Iran has a deep background in Iranian culture and art, and its history has had many ups and downs and changes in different periods; both in terms of social conditions, when they considered actors and role-playing artists to be a lowly member of society, and in terms of politics, when at the height of conceptual theater, they shut it down and pushed the society towards meaningless entertainment, many researchers in the field of history and literature and performing arts, they wrote works. In the meantime, oral history as a new historiography method with an interdisciplinary nature tries to recognize, represent and how to Drama in Iran. The data obtained from oral history interviews are very important in terms of being alive, possessing, dynamism, and the ability to convey the discourse governing the time of events, and it provides more evidence to historians and helps them to understand the various manifestations of human actions.

The book Oral History of Drama in Iran (based on oral history interviews) is edited and researched by Peymaneh Salehi Fashmi. The publisher of this book is the Organization of Documents and the National Library of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was first printed in 2016 and has 173 pages. The cutting of Waziri's book and the image on the cover is the design and image of the screen.

The interviews for this book were conducted by Mrs. Homa Ghazi between 1994 and 1997. The seven people whose interviews are excerpted in this book have joined the mercy of Yazidi. This book is subject-oriented, so in the interviews, only the parts related to the history of the theater and the examination of its various aspects such as decor and decorations, clothes, make-up, photos, actors, etc. have been extracted between the years 1926 and 1978.


The book list includes:


The first words; It is about the importance of oral history in Iran and how to record, record and publish it.


Introduction (from p. 11 to 20); It deals with the performing arts of Iran in different periods of Iranian history such as ancient times, after the rise of Islam, contemporary times, the period of the formation of European theater and Anahita theater.


The first chapter: Ali Asghar Garmsiri (born 1912/died 2004)


Among his actions are the establishment of Tehran Theater and Theater Academy, directing 45 plays, writing 17 plays, and being a teacher of the Academy of Arts for 17 years. His interview was conducted by the interviewer in two sessions on 25 October 1994 and 31 October 1994 for 190 minutes.


 The second chapter: Gholamhossein Nakhsineh (born 1908/died 1996)


In 1939, he started acting at the same time as the Academy was established. He graduated in 1942. In 1953, he turned to cinema and the first movie he starred in was called "Patriot". After that, he was able to act in movies and television. His interview was conducted in two sessions on 27 April 1995 and May 1st 1995 for 165 minutes at the discretion of the interviewer.


The third chapter: Morteza Ahmadi (born 1924/died 1944)


He entered Farhang Theater because of his interest in acting. Of course, because he had a relatively good voice, he started working with pre-screen reading. After the popularization of the art of cinema, he became inclined towards it. He has acted in many movies so far. In this conversation, Ahmadi gave explanations about arts such as kuchebaghi, curtain-making, drumming and fighting in the theater. His interview was conducted by the interviewer in a meeting on  22 July 1996 for 85 minutes.


 The fourth chapter: Hamid Ghanbari (born 1924/died 2007)


After his primary education, he went to a technical academy and then entered an acting academy. He was employed in radio in 1954. After the popularization of cinema art, he became interested in this profession. The first movie in which he acted was called "White Gloves". His interview was conducted by the interviewer in a meeting on 25 September 1997 for 120 minutes.


The fifth chapter: Mahin Dayhim (born 1928/died 2001)


She was one of the artists of Iran Radio. Of course, her real name is Mihan Rajaee. In 1946, she played the role of "The Merchant of Venice" for the first time at Farhang Theater. In addition, she played his first movie role in the movie "Homeless". her interview was conducted by the interviewer in a meeting on 2 December 1994 for 110 minutes.


The sixth chapter: Samuel Khachikian (born 1925/died 2003)


He entered the theater at the age of 18 and staged "Soil" by Jabarlo in Tabriz as his first work. Then in 1941, he formed the Armenian Theater. He entered the Iranian cinema in 1954 and made his first film called "Return". He was able to direct several films in different genres (criminal, comedy, social and family), which can be mentioned as "Four Ways of Events", "Blood and Honor" and "Eagle". His interview was conducted by the interviewer in one meeting on 24 September 1994 and 1 10 1994 for 135 minutes.


The seventh chapter: Valiollah Khakdan (born 1923/died 1996)


From the age of seven, he became interested in painting and from the age of thirteen, he started making replicas of the theater stage. He finished his studies at the Baku Art Academy and started working in the decoration department. He returned to Iran in 1938 and worked in Tabriz theater. At the same time with the expansion of cinema, he became interested in this industry and the first movie for which he made the scenery was "Golden Dreams" which was prepared and arranged in Golden Age Studio. In this interview, Khakdan explained in detail about the difference between theater and cinema decor, and in addition, he also mentioned how to build a cinema town. His interview was conducted by the interviewer in one session on 2 January 1939 and 8 January 1939 for 135 minutes. Among the strong and attractive points of the book are the freshness of the content, depicting the atmosphere of the theater from the 20s to the 40s, pointing out the way of staging and make-up in the past years, the limitations of the Iranian theater society, introducing influential characters in the history of Iranian theater, mentioning names People whose names have been forgotten mentioned the state of the theater in Tabriz and comparing the state of the theater in the past years with its current state. All the interviews were audio recorded and some of them were videotaped. The index of the book is from pages 153 to 167, which includes names and places. At the end of the book, there are pictures from the collection donated by Mr. Shahrokh Naderi, including: a group of old artists and photos of Drama and theaters.

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