Amir Reza Koohestani Hearing


Amir Reza Koohestani’s inspiration for his piece entitled Hearing stems from two sources. Firstly, the documentary Homework, made by Abbas Kiarostami in 1989, in which we are given an insight into the expected norms of violence in the Iranian education system. Secondly, the work of the Iranian visual artist Shohreh Mehran. Through the destiny of a group of women trying to come to terms with a seemingly trivial occurrence, his piece explores the issues of blame and remorse. As is often the case in his shows, the stage set is minimal: a bare stage, divided up into blocks of light. Two women reply one after the other to the audience’s silent questioning, until suddenly the lights come up on the female interrogator and what she says. The questioning starts up, and intrigue soon develops around the supposed intrusion of a man into one of the female dormitories, at a Tehran university. The riddle remains unsolved, but their lives are soon to be overturned. Audience members find themselves being carried off on a whirlwind journey, made possible by the camera work, and lose all sense of time. The piece becomes a heart-rending reflection on the theme of absence. What transpires in Amir Reza Koohestani’s theatre, with all its realism and poetry, is a secret face of Iranian society - despite the censorship. Any words spoken are delivered with immense subtlety, free of any form of manicheism, or denunciation. Amir Reza Koohestani devises his stories with a mirror-like effect, in order to evoke the relationship with others and the distance between individuals. Today, the communicatory nature of his work has made him a major figure in the world of Iranian theatre.