Bahram Beyza'i
The Marionettes

Edited by Jodi-Anne George, Parvin Loloi & Glyn Pursglove

October 2005. 112 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-23-7; ISBN-10 3-901993-23-1 (= SACS 2)
£18.00 (+ 2.00 p&p), €22.00 (+ 2.50 p&p), US$31.00 (+ 3.00 p&p)

In recent years Bahram Beyza'i has achieved considerable fame as an important figure in Iranian cinema, with films such as Ragbar ("Downpour", 1971), Kalaagh ("The Crow", 1978), Cherikeye Tara ("The Ballad of Tara", 1980), Marg-e Yazdgerd ("Death of Yazdgerd", 1981), Mosaferan ("Travellers", 1992) and Sag Koshi ("Rabid Killing", 2001).

Less well-known is his early work as a dramatist. As a young man Beyza'i was fascinated by the traditions of Iranian theatre, including the puppet theatre. His Seh Nemayesh Nameh-ye 'Arusaki ("Three Puppet Plays") was published in 1963. The Marionettes was the first of these three plays. But for all that it is unmistakably based on the model of the traditional puppet theatre, The Marionettes is shaped by other traditions too. It is the work of someone au fait with the work of Pirandello and the Theatre of the Absurd. (In the 1960s plays by dramatists such as Beckett and Ionesco were often translated and performed in Iran soon after their premieres in the West). Drawing on these varied influences, Beyza'i's play is a little-known master-piece of twentieth-century drama.

The Marionettes is published here in a new translation by Parvin Loloi and Glyn Pursglove. The translation is accompanied by three substantial essays. Glyn Pursglove relates the play to the wider fascination with puppets and marionettes in modern drama; Parvin Loloi examines the play's roots in traditional Iranian theatre; Jodi-Anne George writes about her production of the play (in this translation).

The volume is illustrated by both traditional images of the characters of Beyza'i's play and by images from Jodi-Anne George's production.


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