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Cast of Ardaviraf's Report

Staged Plays

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Plays Staged at Stanford University

Sponsored by the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies and part of the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts

two actors sword fight while rehearsing for Dash Akol

Dash Akol According to Marjan (forthcoming)

Dash Akol According to Marjan is a feature play, based on the acclaimed contemporary short story by Sadegh Hedayat, about the love of a Luti, Dash Akol, for Marjan, the daughter of a businessman who has passed away. However, in Beyzaie’s version, the story is instead narrated by Marjan and told from her perspective. 

Bahram Beyzaie with cast of Crossroads during curtain call


Until it premiered at Stanford, Crossroads had never been published or performed. The seven sold out performances received much acclaim inside and outside Iran. Staged using a minimalist set, the play is at once poetic and personal, but poignantly political and historical. It chronicles the havoc brought in the last four decades by tyranny, crass commercialism, faux nationalism, and hypocrisy on the lives of not just two star-crossed lovers but all who pass through the crossroad—people with disrupted, often disfigured, lives.

Full ensemble of Tarabnameh cast during performance


Tarabnameh tells the story of a hadji who sets out to sell his servant and buy in his place a young slave girl. On the way, they see a poet about to be beheaded; a young lover in search of a purloined beloved; and troubadours, their profession banned, desperate to bring joy and laughter to any face. In short, the world they see is all topsy-turvy.

Tarabnameh has its genealogy in the tradition of Takhte-Hozi plays—a tradition of popular plays, combing comedy and music, dance and poetry. Centuries of despotism have rendered this form bereft of content. In Tarabnameh, a play with a cast of thirty-seven actors, this ancient comic genre keeps its joyous ambiance but takes on new form and meaning, underscoring the possibilities of once forgotten traditions becoming rich, robust, and lively modern forms of theater. 

Cast of Ardaviraf's Report

Ardaviraf's Report

Ardaviraf’s Report is inspired by a Zoroastrian text that many consider one of the earliest renditions of the journey to the other world that was later canonically captured in Dante’s Divine Comedy. In Beyzaie’s adaptation of the ancient Persian text, Ardaviraf travels to paradise, purgatory, and inferno where he meets a pantheon of characters from Persian history and mythology.

The play is a poetic dramatization of tales from the other world—a reckoning with Persian mytho-history that Beyzaie subtly connects to our troubled times.

Mojdeh Shamsaie performing in Arash


Arash is one of the most enduring stories of Iranian mythology—the story of a man who offers to end the bloodshed between Iran and its neighbor, Touran, and instead uses the power of his arrow to determine the border of the two countries. Past renditions of this myth have been suffused in messianic hero worship. In this rendition, the only salvation will come from ones own action.

Arash is one of Beyzaie's earliest writings, and though it has been performed numerous times, in numerous countries and languages, this was the first time Beyzaie himself directed it. This stage reading was lead by acclaimed artists Mojdeh Shamsaie and Mohsen Namjoo.

Jana and Baladoor puppets

Jana and Baladoor

Jana and Baladoor is a panorama as majestic as life itself and brings to the stage a magical combination of poetry, puppets, music, and myth. Beyzaie recounts the drama of a world dominated by dark demons and the heroic battles of four mythic siblings—representing the four elements of air, water, earth, and fire—and their battle to redeem and re-enchant the world. The acclaimed actress Mojdeh Shamsaie and the musician Mohsen Namjoo, recite the story accompanied by music and shadow figures that bring the narrative to life.

Since at least the 6th century (12th century AD), the growth and development of shadow plays as an art form has come to a halt with religious zeal and prejudice deeming it heretical, causing it to fade into nigh obscurity. Jana and Baladoor was a historic revival of an old tradition.  

Other Staged Plays

  • One Thousand and First Night, (play-reading) performed by Mojdeh Shamsaie, Stanford University (2013)
  • Afra or the Day Passes, Vahdat Hall (2007)
  • A Re-enactment Play, In Recounting the Agonies of Maestro Navid Makan and His Spouse Architect Rokhshid Farzin, The Main Hall in City Theater (2005) (publication and images from Bisheh Publishers)
  • One Thousand and First Night, Chahar-Soo Auditorium in City Theater (2003)
  • The 1001st Night (the first episode) directed by Alan Lyddiard, Betty Nansen Theater of Copenhagen (2002) 
  • The Testament of Bondar Bidakhsh, as part of the Silk Road Theater Festival, the Ruhr Theater, Mulheim, Germany (1998)
  • The Lady Aoi, by Yokio Mishima, Qashqai Hall in City Theater (1997)
  • The Testament of Bondar Bidakhsh, Chahar-Soo Auditorium in City Theater (1997)
  • Staged Death of Yazdgerd, Chahar-Soo Auditorium in City Theater (1979)
  • The King Snake, Iranian National Theater Ensemble, the 25th of Shahrivar Auditorium (1969)
  • Heritage and The Feast, Iranian National Theater Ensemble, the 25th of Shahrivar Auditorium (1967)
  • Puppets, the Iranian National Theater Ensemble, for Television (1966)
  • Sunset in a Strange Land and The Story of the Hidden Moon, directed by Abbas Javanmard, the Iranian National Theater Ensemble, at the Theater Festival of Nations, Paris (1965)
  • Pahlavan Akbar Dies, directed by Abbas Javanmard, Iran’s National Theater Ensemble for Iranian Television (1964)