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), €19.00 (+ 2.00 p&p), US$22.00 (+ 3.00 p&p)

In recent years Bahram Beyza'i has achieved considerable fame as an important figure in Iranian cinema, with films suchas Ragbar ("Downpour", 1971), Kalaagh ("The Crow", 1978), Cherikeye Tara ("The Ballad of Tara", 1980),Marg-e Yazdgerd ("Death of Yazdgerd", 1981), Mosaferan ("Travellers", 1992) andSag 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 ofIranian 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 unmistakablybased 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 1960splays by dramatists such as Beckett and Ionesco were often translated and performed in Iran soon after their premieresin the West). Drawing on these varied influences, Beyza'i's play is a little-known master-piece of twentieth-centurydrama.

The Marionettes is published here in a new translation by Parvin Loloi and Glyn Pursglove. The translationis accompanied by three substantial essays. Glyn Pursglove relates the play to the wider fascination with puppets andmarionettes in modern drama; Parvin Loloi examines the play's roots in traditional Iranian theatre; Jodi-Anne Georgewrites 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 fromJodi-Anne George's production.


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