PublicationNotes #11

Notes #11


Two weeks ago, in mid-May 2024, the European Parliament renewed and tightened its asylum and migration rules. The EU’s external borders are fast becoming insurmountable walls to those hoping to seek refuge in Europe. At the same time, political debates rage within European societies about how to deal with migration and migrants.

Reason enough for us, together with our guest editor, playwright and researcher Natasha Moharramzadeh, to focus on migration in the new issue of NOTES #11. However, rather than looking at Europe, we turn to Iran, whose societies have been deeply affected by the migration of people from different nations. The country continues to be both a place of refuge for many and a place from which others flee in search of safer, freer homes.

NOTES #11 takes us into the historical and contemporary world of theater in Iran, focusing on two aspects: the important role of Armenian immigrants in shaping the theater scene in the Iranian province of Gilan and contemporary ways of processing the various aspects of migration through the medium of theater.

In his text “Fragmented Images: The Role of Armenian Immigrants in Gilan Theater,” playwright and researcher Faramarz Talebi shows how Armenian immigrants contributed to the foundation of theater not only in Gilan but throughout Iran. His text also illustrates the interconnectedness of the theatre scene with community building and local, national, and global politics.

“To Adopt Another Homeland: The Plays of Gregory Yeghikian” by researcher and writer Sima Hassandokht Firooz, introduces us to a pioneering figure of Iranian theatre, the Armenian playwright and political activist Gregory Yeghikian, who immigrated to Iran during the Ottoman occupation. Hassandokht provides an overview of Yeghikian’s key themes, emphasizing his transnational and humanist concerns, which profoundly influenced his work as a playwright and political thinker and had an enduring impact in his new homeland.

In “The Inhabitants of Purgatory: A Review of Payam Laryan’s Play The Inhabitants of Calais,” Natasha Moharramzadeh examines the work of contemporary young Iranian playwright Payam Laryan. In his plays, Laryan deals with and reflects on migration from different angles. The Inhabitants of Calais (2022) explores this subject from two different perspectives: that of refugees stranded in limbo, still searching for a place in the world and an identity, and that of artists who have chosen to take refuge in the realm of art. In her analysis, Moharramzadeh emphasizes the notion of purgatory as the main theme of the play. continues to focus on Iran’s contemporary cultural context in order to keep bringing greater awareness of its extensive and diverse artistic and intellectual discourses to a broad global audience. We are extremely proud to be able to present here the work of three researchers and writers from the Iranian theater scene, whose works have rarely been published in English.

We hope you enjoy these texts and the accompanying visual material. Please take a look at our CALENDAR to discover exhibitions and events from our transcultural NETWORK.

Managing editor Helia Darabi

Hannah Jacobi, Natasha Moharramzadeh, “Editorial” in NOTES #11 (June/July 2024); published on, May 31, 2024.