Illegal theatre : what freedom(s)?

Tehran, August 2014

Always asking permission to the government to perform a play do not fit everybody. Indeed, a part of the theatre community of Tehran has opted for another solution : working without permission. How to avoid the presentation to the jury? Where can you perform in this case and what are the consequences of such a decision? Mohammad Rezayi Rad, a director in Tehran, explains us how it works on the unofficial side or underground side, as some people call it.

Of course, when you work without permission, it is not possible to perform in official theatres. You have to find private places and to be able to adapt more easily to new spaces.

But an illegal performance in a private place necessarily requires a discrete communication and consequently an even more restricted audience than usually. Who are this rescued spectators? Would this theatrical form give the possibility of reaching a new type of audience?

Mohammad Rezayi Rad tells one of the performances without permission that has struck him the most : the emotion is still there.

According to Mohammad Rezayi Rad, overall, theatre without permission gives more freedom. But he says it himself, the audience is more restricted than the one of theatre with permission and the probability of reaching a new audience remains low. This is what Setareh Aminian, a puppeteer and director, regrets. According to her, performing in private places for private circles is not a solution at all, but the contrary.


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© Juliette Wierzbicki