Prismatic Arts Festival

Asheq – Onelight Theatre

Asheq – Onelight Theatre

September 19 | 4:00pm | Dal Arts Centre - Dunn Theatre

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Join us for a workshop presentation of Onelight Theatre’s newest production in development, Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover.

Developed under the artistic leadership of Shahin Sayadi, Asheq is a story of forbidden love, a family that is divided by long-held secrets, and a community that is trying to find balance between traditional ways and the modern world. The play culminates in a zar exorcism ceremony, intended to rid a young man of the “sickness” of his love for an outcast young woman, that ultimately reveals a father’s long-buried secrets.

Shahin was drawn to this project for several reasons. First, he was interested in exploring the cultures and traditions of his birthplace in southern Iran. In particular, the ways that East African, Arab and Persian religious traditions have blended over time and the modern practice of zar / exorcism rituals brought to Iran by escaped African slaves.

Second, through this work, Shahin wanted to explore how cultures and communities change over time. Southern Iran provides examples of how traditions can be sustained from generation to generation, but it also is an example of how there can be sudden, overnight cultural change through revolutions and wars. Instead of receiving teachings from the older generation, youth impose change on social and political structures.

Finally, from a design and staging perspective, Shahin was eager to explore how the zar ceremony and pearl diving could be depicted on stage. Onelight will be exploring innovations in set, sound, lighting, and projection design to stage this work.

Onelight is working with Habib Boushehri (Iran/France) and Mohsen Sharifian (Iran), internationally-recognized musicians with ties to southern Iran and the zar culture, to develop original music for the production.