A Moment of Silence (2016)

Trailer by: Adel Ghorbani

About A Moment of Silence

“an unexpected contemporary play from a culture we do not meet every day, A Moment of Silence…charts the recent history of the country of which we hear plenty on the news but about which we do not know that much.” Michaela Příkopová “

A Moment of Silence is an award-winning play by celebrated Iranian playwright and director, Mohammad Yaghoubi. Nowadays Theatre staged the English premiere of  this surreal, poetic, and surprisingly comic meditation on Iran’s turbulent history for the 2016 SummerWorks Performance Festival in Toronto at Factory Theatre Mainspace from August 6-14.

Among its many awards are Toronto Fringe Festival’s 2015 New Play contest and the Playwrights’ Society of Iran’s Best Play prize. It has been translated into English, French, Czech, Turkish and Kurdish and performed in Washington and California, USA, Brussels(Belgium by Théâtre de Poche in 2014) and in Prague (The Czech Republic) in January 2016.

Shiva wakes up to find she has been asleep for three years. In that time, the world around her has changed drastically. Her friends and family seem different. Strangers act oddly. It’s Iran in 1980 and she has just slept through the Islamic Revolution. For the next ten years, Shiva continues to fall asleep for years at a time. Each time she wakes up there’s a new change she has to try to grasp: the war with Iraq, a series of murders of dissident artists  as well as transformations in her own family. Meanwhile, the playwright creating Shiva’s story begins to receive phone calls threatening her life.

The English Premiere of A Moment of Silence directed by Mohammad Yaghoubi was presented as a part of SummerWorks Performance Festival at the Factory Theatre, Mainspace, Toronto, Canada frome 6th to 14th of August 2016. The sets were designed by Saeed Hasanlou, light by Dave Degrew, Costume by Setareh Delzendeh, and music by Pedran Khavarzamini. The cast was as follows:
SHIVA Sarah Marchand
JIMMY Maxime Robin
SHIRIN Parmida Kakavand
SHEIDA Melanie Pyne
HASTI Lara Arabian
SOHRAB Paul Van Dyck
MEN VOICES Artibald Babayants
WOMEN VOICES Jada Rifkin

History of the play

  • August 6th – 14th 2016, directed by Mohammad Yaghoubi, at Factory Theatre, Toronto, Canada.
  • January 15th 2016, directed by Azadeh Mohammadi, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • November 6th 2015, directed by Azadeh Mohammadi, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • June 14th, 15th & 16th 2015, directed by Azadeh Mohammadi, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • March 6th to 8th 2015, directed by Bella Warda, Central Stage in Richmond, California, USA
  • September 28th 2015, directed by Shohreh Asemi, NOVA Annandale Ernst Cultural Center, Washington, USA
  • May 2014, Staged reading in French, translated by Liliane Anjo and directed by Mehdi Goleij, Montreal, Canada.
  • March 2014, Staged reading in French, translated by Liliane Anjo and directed by Philippe Beheydt, Brussels, Belgium.
  • May 2012, staged reading in English, translated and directed by Torange Yeghiazarian, San Francisco, USA.
  • December 2012, Staged reading in French, translated by Liliane Anjo and directed by Frédéric Dussenne, Brussels, Belgium.
  • May 2010, directed by Aida Keykhaii, Tehran, Iran.
  • December 2001, directed by Mohammad Yaghoubi, Tehran, Iran.

Awards 

A Moment of Silence received the following awards

• The third place winner of the New Play Contest in Toronto Fringe Festival, 2016

• The Playwrights Society of Iran Award for outstanding play, 2012

• The National Theatre Critics Society Award for Outstanding Direction in 2002

• The International Theatre Festival of Iran Award for Outstanding Direction, 2001

Photos by: Bahareh Ahmadi

3 replies
  1. Mark Gordon says:

    A Moment of Silence by Mohammad Yaghoubi is alive with political and emotional turmoil. The play weaves together the effects of revolution and protracted war on a family of three sisters and their husbands.

    I saw the play last night and the images and dialogue are still with me.The social turbulence brings out the best and worst in the characters and keeps the audience focused on what is happening to the very last moment of silence.

    The acting, directing and production were all first rate. I highly recommend A Moment of Silence to anyone who enjoys theatre. This first English production of A Moment of Silence brings the voice of an important playwright to the Canadian scene.

    Reply
  2. K. Deichsel says:

    As a Canadian who has had the privilege of growing up in a country where she felt her freedom of speech has been consistently upheld, it is difficult to fully grasp the experience of those living in countries where this basic right is violated on a daily basis. Mohammad Yaghoubi allows us a glimpse into the fear, isolation, and confusion of such restrictions in a Moment of Silence. It is a hauntingly insightful piece that left me wondering how Iran will recover from this collective silencing. However, because of such plays, the international community is permitted a literal front seat to this reality for so many people and, for that, I am beyond thankful to Mohammad and the cast for opening such an important dialogue.

    In addition to the critical message, the choice in actors and set created a brilliant backdrop to the dire consequence of this situation on those living inside a country that restricts basic human rights. At two distinct scene, goosebumps ran down my body – namely, the second time Shiva wakes up and screams, and the fear that grips Hasti’s face as she continues to receive calls from those wishing to silence her. I left the theatre heavy in thought, but thankful for my opportunity to speak, read, listen, and write my truth without fear of persecution.

    Thank you to Mohammad and the cast for not remaining silent. I look forward to his next works… it’s been too long since my mind has been challenged.

    Reply
  3. Vladimir Milman says:

    i want to share my crying soul – this production’s fault. i’ve just written to one of my close friends. i had to; i am overwhelmed. i quote:

    “i’ve just returned from great production, the Summerworks (festival) production of “The Moment of Silence”. unfortunately, today was the last run – i couldn’t make it before. if i did, i’d now send messages widely. i loved everything in it, i have 0 critique: the play, the directing, the acting, the reading voices off-stage, the live-played drum music. the topic. the life and death of it. the minute of standing silence in memory that ends a run. when such things as all of this happen i always want to cry, wheep, to melt humans around in feelings that painfully flourish, to shed the only meaningful hug of no return there is, the hug of love. the hug of Love.”

    as writing this i didn’t have to flatter anyone, this my friend has nothing to do with this production, no, there’s no meaningless fluttering in it. simply, i am still under not hushed impression, i still want to shed hugs and kisses upon each and every one of you, the kisses of the only love that makes sense, love of being one with each of you, and i just can’t let go. it’s painful to let go. well, love is always like that. i love you all, thank you for being so deeply part of my life.

    yours,
    vladimir

    Reply

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