The Scarlet Stone
The Scarlet Stone is a multidisciplinary and collaborative music/dance/animation work told in the language of dance-theatre. The piece is based on the last work of Siavash Kasrai, Moher-ye Sorkh (Scarlet Stone), and it uses the modern rendition of the ancient Persian mythology by Kasrai to portray the current struggle of the people of Iran, especially those of the youth and women, in their brave quest for freedom and democracy. As artists of the Iranian diaspora, our goal is to make this project directly relevant to the current political and social climate of Iran. The project will also include a number of colloquiums, which will involve key scholars to discuss the history of Iran in the past 50 years.
Aug. 29, 2015 – Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles
Aug. 21, 22, 23, 2015 – Tirgan Festival, Toronto, Canada
Aug. 15, 2015 – San Diego, Mandel Weiss Forum,
Dec. 11-12, 2011. Freud Playhouse, UCLA.
Nov. 19. 2011. San Diego, Mandel Weiss Forum, UCSD.
Angela Crone, "News Broadcast", KPBS News, San Diego, CA. February 11, 2016.
Cynthia Dillon, "UC San Diego Theatre Production Broadcast to Reach Millions", Triton Magazine, La Jolla, CA. February 5, 2016.
Firoozeh Khatibi, "The Scarlet Stone, A Mythical Look at Essence of Humans for the Search of the Iranian Human (Persian", BBC Persian, London, UK. September 7, 2015.
Firoozeh Khatibi, "The Scarlet Stone, A Mythical Look at Essence of Humans for the Search of the Iranian Human (English", BBC Persian, London, UK. September 7, 2015.
Deborah Klugman, "Reviews: The Scarlet Stone", Stage Raw, Los Angeles, CA. September 3, 2016.
" ...Impressive .. Try to catch it if it returns ... ",
Lindsay Weinberg, "‘The Scarlet Stone’ shows political, social changes in Iran", Daily Bruin, Los Angeles, CA. August, 31, 2015.
Orly Minazad, "20 BEST THINGS TO DO IN L.A. THIS WEEK", LA Weekly, Los Angeles, CA. August 30, 2015.
Dana Oland, "Boise chiropractor takes the stage in Los Angeles this weekend", Idaho Statesman, Boise, ID. August 29, 2015.
Ahmad Karimi Hakkak, "The Scarlet Stone: From the Heart of Myth and History to the Edge of Tomorrow (in Persian)", Radio Iran LA 670AM, Simi Valley, California. August 29, 2015.
Ahmad Karimi Hakkak, "The Scarlet Stone: From the Heart of Myth and History to the Edge of Tomorrow (English)", Radio Iran LA 670AM (www.670amkirn.com/), Simi Valley, California. August 29, 2015.
Orly Minazad, "Go LA", LA Weekly, Los Angeles, CA. August 28 2015.
Calendar Section, "Weekend Picks", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA. August 30, 2015.
Firoozeh Khatibi, "The Scarlet Stone, A Mythical Look at Essence of Humans for the Search of the Iranian Human (In Pers", Javanan Magazine, Los Angeles, CA. August, 26 2015.
Bijan Khalili, "The Scarlet Stone, Retelling the Tale of National Identity (in Persian)", Iranshahr Magazine, Los Angeles, CA. August 21, 2015.
Bijan Khalili, "The Scarlet Stone: Retelling the Tale of National Identity (English)", Iranshahr Magazine, Los Angeles, CA. August 21, 2015.
Jonathan Maseng, "‘The Scarlet Stone’: A 1,000- year-old epic transformed for the stage", Jewish Journal, . August 2015.
Sanaz Haghverdi, "A Play, A Poem, and an Epic", Tirgan Magazine, Toronto CA. August 2015.
Will Bowen, "Modern Dance, Ancient Myth, Ongoing Story: Persian tale ‘The Scarlet Stone’ comes to La Jolla Au", La Jolla Light, La Jolla, CA. August 4, 2015.
Firoozeh Khatibi, "An Interview with Shahrokh Yadegari (in Persian)", Javanan Magazine, Los Angeles, CA. July 2015.
Firoozeh Khatibi, "The Performance of The Scarlet Stone in San Diego, Toronto, and Los Angeles (In Persian)", Javanan Magazine, Los Angeles, CA. July 2015.
Ariel Swartley, "UCIRA Spotlight on Shahrokh Yadegari: Scarlet Stone", SOTA (UCIRA State of the Arts), San Pedro, CA. Apr. 18, 2012.
Tamasha Program, "Scarlet Stone on Tamasha", BBcPersian, London, United Kingdom. Jan 12., 2012.
Sohrab Akhavan, "Scarlet Stone and Shahrokh Yadegari", Andisheh TV, Los Angeles, CA. Jan 9, 2012.
Arash Rod, ""Scarlet Stone" on stage in Los Angeles", Voice of America, . Dec. 18, 2011.
Farhang Farahi, "Let two Shahrokh’s Fit in the Same Realm", Javanan Magazin No 1279, Los Angeles, CA. Dec. 2011.
Farhang Farahi, "English Version - Let two Shahrokh’s Fit in the Same Realm", Javanan Magazin No 1279, Los Angeles, CA. Dec. 2011.
Noushin Moeini, "“A Look at Scarlet Stone", Javanan Magazin No 1279, Los Angeles, CA. Dec. 2011.
Noushin Moeini, "English Version - A Look at Scarlet Stone", Javanan Magazin No 1279, Translated by Haleh Hatami, Los Angeles, CA. Dec. 2011.
Yatrika Shah-rais, "Global Village Wed, with Yatrika with Shahrokh Yadegari and Shahrokh Moshkin-Ghalam, 12,7,11", Global Village, KPFK, Los Angeles. Dec. 7, 2011.
Don Heckman, "The international Review of Music - Los Angeles Pick of the week", The International Review of Music, Los Angeles. Dec. 6 2011.
" ...Scarlet Stone as the pick of the week ... ",
Firoozeh Khatibi, "The first production of Scarlet Stone, the modern epic of Rostam and Sohrab on stage at the Universi", Voice of America, . Nov. 25, 2011.
Firoozeh Khatibi, " English Translation - The first production of Scarlet Stone, the modern epic of Rostam and Sohrab o", Voice of America, Translated by Haleh Hatami. Nov. 25, 2011.
Bibi Kasrai, "No Heros and Saviors", Iranian.com, San Diego. Nov. 14, 2011.
Yeni Alvarez, ""Scarlet Stone" Comes to California", Examiner.com, Los Angeles. Nov. 11, 2011.
MAR YVETTE, "Scarlet Stone Hits LA", Marpop, Los Angeles. Nov. 8, 2011.
" ...A multisensory experience that is beautiful on the surface yet has an intensely deep message ... ",
Approach to the Production:
This project has been developed around the production of the last poem of Siavash Kasrai, Mohre-ye Sorkh (Scarlet Stone). The main point of Kasrai in this work is to show the value of wisdom over fascination and bring to our attention the need for all Iranians to take responsibility for their cultural development of the past 50 years. With his critical view, Kasrai also offers strength and hope. We believe much of what he addresses in his work, both in terms of societal problems and solutions. are alive in the current social and political movements in Iran. For many years, the only option for defining a structural basis for a social or political movement was either leaning towards the left or the right. Kasrai, having come from the leftist tradition and having been the victim of the disillusionments which followed the left movement in Iran, proudly writes a strongly hopeful poem for facing the problems which have plagued our time. We feel the current movements in Iran, where all sections of people have come together to voice their desire for peaceful reform and freedom, are a living example of what Kasrai has presented in this work.
Similar to the artistic form of Kasrai’s poem, we intend to stage the work with modern aesthetics and a deep commitment to the traditional and ancient values of Persian arts. Advanced interactive technology will be used for production and projection/diffusion of video and sound, which will help the integration of the multiple disciplines used in this project. The production will have strong interactive elements in regards to its use of technology, which in the end will serve the integration of the social and cultural narrative of the story with traditional sensitivities and within a modern dance-theatre production process.
Our goal is to produce The Scarlet Stone in a way that will become a catalyst for communication among Iranians, Iranian-Americans, and all those interested and invested in the evolution of the political and social life in Iran. We aim to make the production of a high caliber in order to do justice to the work of Kasrai, the art of poetry in Iran, and the deep philosophy found in the ancient mythology of Iran. The integration of poetry and philosophy is a difficult task for those who are grounded in Western philosophical traditions. This matter is at the heart of the old and new poetry coming out of Iran. The production of The Scarlet Stone will be accompanied by several colloquiums involving key scholars of Persian Literature and history. Our intention with these diverse events is to foster communication among the many sectors of the Iranian-American communities in the greater metropolitan areas in the United States.
A Narrative of the Production:
The Scarlet Stone is a new multidisciplinary and collaborative music/dance/animation work performed in a special environment accommodating the live interaction between music, real-time video animation, and a group of world class dancers. Told in the language of dance-theatre, we will depict the story of `Sohrab’ (the symbol for justice and equality in ancient Persian mythology) in a modern form, who in “Shahnameh” is killed by his father `Rostam’ (the symbol of paternalistic power).
Ferdowsi(935-1020 AD.) is one of the most important poets of Iran. He spent 30 years collecting the Persian ancient mythology and historical facts, and putting them in poetry form in Persian language in his book “Shahnameh” (The book of Kings). Ferdowsi completed “Shahnameh” at a time that the Persian language was close to be forgotten because the Arab rulers in Persia had banned the use of the language among the Persians for over two hundred years. Thus, by writing the Shahnameh, Ferdowsi not only preserved the ancient Persian mythology and historical facts, but also revived the Persian language and saved it from extinction.
Rostam and Sohrab are the two main protagonists of `Shahnameh’. Sohrab is the love child of Rostam (the immortal hero of Iran) and Tahmineh (the princess of a neighboring country) who actively and proudly pursued Rostam, and believed that their union and offspring (Sohrab) would bring peace and prosperity to the region. “Shahnameh” ends with the tragic death of Sohrab by Rostam (in ignorance), and the conquest of Persia by the Arabs, which Ferdowsi calls the “arrival the army of darkness”.
Based on the “Shahnameh”, the poem “Mohreye Sorkh“, by Siavash Kasrai, is set at the last moment of the life of Sohrab. Kasrai was one of the most important and eloquent contemporary poets of Iran. Kasrai was persecuted before the 1979 revolution by the Shah’s regime, and after the revolution by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Kasrai’s life work has been a hopeful message for Iran and the proud Persian culture. He has written a number of works based on the mythology found in Shahnameh. In The Scarlet Stone, Sohrab (the mythological character) confronts the author of “Shahnameh”, Ferdowsi, for the reason of his tragic death and the meaning (or meaninglessness) of his futile quest for peace and justice. Kasrai finished this work in 1990 in exile, when the Islamic government had already established its successful autocratic and oppressive rule over the people of Iran by mass terrors of intellectuals, artists, and nationalists. One finds one of the most hopeful and meaningful messages regarding the recent struggles of people of Iran in the answer that Ferdowsi gives to Sohrab in The Scarlet Stone, that: “Your fight is not only local, but a global struggle against injustice”; “when you began your road to be a hero, you should not expect the path to be easy”; “you may think you are dying in the book, but your name will forever be the light and the symbol for those fighting for justice and freedom.”
We believe today’s generation of the youth and women in Iran are the generation of the `Shorab’s and ‘Tahmineh’s, who bravely, passionately, and peacefully have been struggling against the oppressive Islamic regime of Iran. We find that the recent movement in Iran is a fundamentally new form of peaceful approach to political dissent, where actions are not fed by partisan politics, but by grass root social necessities. The people of Iran awed the world with their bravery, unity, and non-violent resistance towards autocracy. This was a leaderless movement where every person became a leader and a hero.
All of the artists on this project are committed to the expression of traditional values through modern artistic languages. As such, we aim to tell the story of The Scarlet Stone by combining Persian traditional music and dance with modern aesthetics using the state-the-arts audio/visual interactive technologies.
An Excerpt Video of the Performance at Freud Playhouse UCLA Dec. 11-12, 2011
The Scarlet Stone (2011)
Adapted, Composed and Directed by Shahrokh Yadegari
Choreography by Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam
Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam (Sohrab)
Afshin Mofid (Rostam)
Miriam Perez (Tahmineh)
Ida Saki (Gordafarid)
Fatemeh Habibizad (Story Teller, Ferdowsi)
Set and Interactive Projections: Ian Wallace
Lighting: Omar Ramos and Kristin Hayes
An Excerpt of the workshop performance as part of the UCIRA State of the Arts Conference
Scarlet Stone (2010)
Composed and Directed by Shahrokh Yadegari
Choreography by Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam
Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam (Sohrab)
Fatemeh Habibizad (Story Teller, Ferdowsi)
Jillian Shu (Gordafarid)
Lighting: Omar Ramos
Projections: Tara Knight
Video: By Ash Eliza Smith