A Requiem For Libricide
An event by Ali Ettehad ANAHITA ART STUDIO and The Academy of Art Theater Group present
Live Performers: Babak Hamidian, Noora Hashemi, Javad Molania, Nikoo Tarkhani, Navid Hedayatpour, Joubin Kalhor, Naghmeh Moradabadi, Hamed Kazemi
In video-installation: Hanieh Tavasoli, Mehdi Ahmadi, Ali Ettehad
Producer: Majid Rahimi Jafari
Executive producer: Academy of Art theater group
Composer: Ali Samadpour
Light and sound: Majid Ghaderi
Make-up artist: Mahnaz Fateh
Video Director: Sina Pakdel
A requiem for libricide is not a theatre, nor a performance art piece… It is an event; an event consists of different mediums including theatre, performance-art, live music and video-installation. As it is obvious by the name it is a piece about lost knowledge. The knowledge that mankind lost during history due to so many arsons in the libraries. The books -our knowledge, our history- have been burned and so, many names and many things have been erased like they have never existed. The language and words play a certain role in this piece. The language used in a requiem for libricide does not belong to a certain period of time, it changes and evolves as the show goes on… Like we’re walking in the dark tunnels of history facing new eras and new people. At the first part of the event a man in a black robe meets the audience; he is quite as if he is performing a ritual; sometimes he whispers in the ears of some audience; as if he reveals a secret: you will be burned; you will be vanished from the face of the earth with a blink of an eye…
Then he leads audience to another floor. Everything is dark and the only light we see is coming from candles. In the first floor which is actually beneath the entrance room; the video-installation is being played. A man and a woman is narrating a story of a library in an archaic language. The man is standing in a tv set at the left and the woman at the right while a third video is being played at the center representing some images of a vast sea and different cities and a man -a walker- in black who passes all those castles and realms and seas and even times. When the video stops the first performer in the black robe appears again; this times he speaks loudly. He quotes some parts of the video as if he is a fortune teller and telling the audience their unchangeable destiny. Then he leads them to another floor; where the live part begins. This floor is above the entrance hall. Here the first performer (named as no.0) disappears for a minute and then comes back in a different role. He plays a spring drum and sings some parts of Gatha (which is the holly poems of avesta, in zoroastrian language). There is a table at the center of the room and there are four performers wearing black outfits that belong to no specific period of time but remind of customs of circles of brotherhood; sitting at the tables, heads down, eyes closed and not moving until no.0 finishes singing. After no.0 left they start to move and search in the heals of papers on the table. With a sound of the strike of a singing bow by one of the performers; they all bring out their matches and light the candles in front of them. Every time the performer no.4 make a sound out of the singing bow the performers light and put out the candle’s fire periodically. And with every time that the darkness realms and the lights turn back their acts and language evolves slowly. There are two women (no.1 and no.2) and two men (no.3 and no.4) at the table. The play is set as though the women and the men can not see each other. The woman are only capable of sensing each other and so are the men. Like they are present at a same place in different diversions of time. Some times they can sense the presence of the other like an echo of a distant time but can not completely comprehend what is going on. The two women are like one soul divided in two corpses and they are not earthly. They are like sisters of the fate; they write and read and then burn what they wrote. Sometimes they do believe in themselves and sometimes they doubt; their characters changes little by little; like they are fallen angles who can slowly feel what it is like to be human. The men but are like lost souls. They only read the papers and each time they turn into what they read. They become blind, become lovers, become light and become darkness, they speak in different languages, some that do not even exist; they are like mankind during history; but slowly they take control of the fate; they gain the quality to rule the fate; they anonymously control the women characters. There are parts in which the performers interact with audience; ask them things and bring them to their game; the result of such actions depend on the reaction of audience. If they answer the dialogue between the performer and the audience is supposed to go on and if they don’t the performer continues her/his own scenario not paying attention to the audience.
The third part of the event is the live music; the two men discover the musician following a map like the raiders of a cave full of treasure. And when they do the musicians – a woman playing Tar and a man playing Kamancheh- start to play; the singer joins them eventually singing some poems by khayyam -renowned Persian pot whose poems are mostly about the ephemerality of life. Two women are able to hear the music and they connect to the musicians; they cry as they continue listening to the music knowing there is no rescue for what they lost- now they are completely human. A human with a burned history.. No past and no future… No hope except for the music itself. The lights go out and no0 appears again on the entrance hall speaking of what mankind have lost and what will become of him… Leading the audience to the exit door. As it is obvious the show is about words, language and history; it is about lost dialogue between men. It is about names that history does not remember though they made a change; it is about the selection process of history due to which some parts of man’s destiny remained unknown to us. It is about the words: the words that give life to meanings and imaginations; the words that give meaning to life and now they’re lost. Men are incapable of understanding each other; they share time and life together; but lost a great deal of their knowledge through the fire they put on themselves.