Theatre of self sacrifice and martyrdom needs changes in the view.
Unfortunately, our theatre society does not have tendency towards the subjects such as sacred defense, self sacrifice and martyrdom; because any genre needs to be supported. And unfortunately, this genre is not supported. Once in a while, these subjects are focused and noticed by holding “Sacred Defense Theatre”?; but these subjects have never stabilized as a movement.
And there are some artists who do not have much tendency and attention to the subjects related to the sacred defense, self sacrifice and martyrdom. We should not how ever ignore existence of supervision and censorship in this field.
Some of the officials like that the concept which they aim is concentrated in the play. And it causes that many of sacred defense theatres appear in an atmosphere of mottos; but this type of theatre will find its special status in case artists are free to find their favorite subjects, make a theatre based on their own opinions and reflect the realities.
I believe that both artists and audiences will welcome any types of subjects if they are expressed at the suitable and right time. For instance, “Ta’zieh”? will certainly have more audiences if it is performed during “Moharram”? Month [Ta’zieh is said to a kind of religious play that is about Imam Hossein, the third imam of the Shiite or about other imams. This type of play is usually performed during Moharram, the Arabic Month when the Shiite people hold different mourning ceremonies for the anniversary of martyrdom of Imam Hossein.]. It is the same for theatres with concepts such as sacred defense, self sacrifice and martyrdom. If they are performed during a particular specified time and the artists and play writers are set free to express the realities, this type of theatre will certainly find its position among other types of theatres.
We should pay attention to another point too. Since theatre establishes a face to face relationship with the audience, we may not be able to express many of the concepts such as the side effects of war in theatre.
Telling realities is one of the missions of art. In the art of theatre, we can say many of the untold stories of war by referring to the realities. And it requires the change of view of a number of officials about this issue.
We have not acted seriously for producing glorious plays.
Unfortunately, the subject of sacred defense theatre has been less paid attention during the past years. That is why there is no planning and policy making for the growth of this type of dramatic literature. We have not looked to the future of this theatre. Maybe, there are some people who say that we hold festival for this type of theatre; but continuation of such a valuable subject requires more support and efforts made by artists and officials. This valuable subject is the subject of resistance, self sacrifice and martyrdom that has allocated parts of Islamic Revolution years. And many of our live capitals [Young people] have lost their lives in the way of their goal, ideals and defending their home land during this period of time.
There was just one theatre festival of sacred defense during past years; but these activities were not continuous. And these glorious dramatic works did not find their appropriate position as much as the culture of self sacrifice and martyrdom that was expanded and found its position. There is limited support and planning for these dramatic works. Most of the countries produce ever lasting and valuable works in order to keep alive the memories of the people who participated in war; but all our attention to such works remains merely as mottos and speeches. We have not acted yet. We have how ever had glorious and permanent works too; the permanent works which have been produced in this field; but we might have forgotten some of the methods of performing theatre with the subjects related to defense, resistance, self sacrifice and martyrdom.
For instance, we have neglected comedy works in this field. The Theatre “From Earth to Heaven”? that brought many audiences to the theatre halls was a work with comedy theme. At the same time, it established a good relationship with the audiences.
There is another point that should not be easily ignored. And it is the fact that we have not unfortunately acted seriously for producing glorious works. No budget has been allocated to this field. No programming and no policy making has been in this field. We should be coordinated with the today’s situation if we want to produce glorious works in the field of sacred defense, self sacrifice and martyrdom. Today’s situation in the field of dramatic literature requires a newer look and a performance that is more different than what we have witnessed in the theatres with these subjects in the past.
Play writers are dependant to the theatre calendar.
If I were a director or policy maker in the field of producing dramatic literature, my first suggestion was to study the untold stories of war. These books are presented by creditable publishers such as “Foundation for Preservation of Monuments and Dissemination of Values of Sacred Defense”?, “Association of Islamic Revolution and Sacred Defense Theatre”? and “Martyr Foundation and Isargaran Affairs”?. Memories of commanders, soldiers and those who had been captured in “Beit –ol Moghaddas”? Operation – that resulted in freeing Khorramshahr – are written in these books. Reading the memories of these dear people and speaking about the things that were not said or published in past years can greatly help the play writers and story writers. Now that we have become far from war and due to the open political, social and cultural atmosphere, it has become almost possible to write about the untold stories of war. And these untold stories can help us in dramatic actions, characterization in plays and creating dramatic attractions.
Structural and technical issues can be also noticed in this respect. The way of look of theatre directors to this subject should be changed; because unfortunately, all directors use elements such as mask, stronghold, plaque, boots and completely repeated and cliché things in all the plays. In addition to ordinary audiences, the audiences who have lost one of their family members shun theatre when such things are shown in the play. Unfortunately, there are too many cliché sentences about the imams and religious beliefs that can not be believed. These cliché sentences cause the audience not to be able to communicate with the characters of the play.
The characters of a play are more heavenly people rather than being earthly people. And cases like this cause that we do not face with a growing process in the theatre of sacred defense and with particular subjects such as “Khorramshahr”?.
It is worth mentioning that we have witnessed considerable changes in the plays that have been published, especially in those who have been published in recent years; but no special change has been made in directorship and stage theatre of sacred defense.
Earning money to make a living is the first concern of a writer for writing sacred defense plays. Good plays will be certainly written and we will witness great changes if there is an organization that supports the play writer financially. Play writers write plays considering the theatre calendar at the present time. Their thought and mind are not focused on one field. Their time, energy, thinking concentration and studies are actually divided into different fields and branches.
Majid Rajabi Me’mar:
Research is our basic need in sacred defense theatre.
War has left many memories in our country. Actions and reaction as well as political, economic, social and cultural side effects have been left among soldiers, commanders and their families. Our war faced with great apparent victories and even failures. Each of these victories and failures can be separately considered as good subjects for theatre artists in order to picture this important historical event.
The history of human being has never been without war. And war is a humanitarian bitter reality that has always existed among two families or two tribes or two lands and nations. It has caused that different cultures show different reactions to war. And these reactions are observed in the art of theatre too.
When we study the history, literature and culture of Greece, the Arabs and the ancient Iranian people, we observe that an important part of their poetry and literary culture has been related to war. And many of the outstanding peaks of literature and art of the world have been formed by war. We can achieve good results by conducting researches in the dramatic literature and war theatre of other countries. And these results can be used in the “Resistance Theatre”? of our country.
The art of sacred defense theatre is one of the important types of theatre in our country. It has been formed following the sacred defense in our country. Sacred defense theatre expresses an outstanding part of Iran’s history and the resistance of Iranian people.
The brave nation of Iran passed the historical test of the imposed war proudly. Our brave nation created an ever lasting epic in the imposed war. And as the mother of arts and as a glorious art, the art of theatre should be active in this field. The art of theatre should reflect this important part of history of Iran land and people. And conducting researches plays an important role in this field. By conducting researches and benefiting from our experiences as well as analyzed researches of other nations, important works can be created in the theatre of resistance in Iran. The efforts made for holding “Sacred Defense Theatre Festival”? for years and also holding programs of visiting war regions by the artists as well as lots of activities carried out by the artists in the field of sacred defense theatre caused that the need for research in the field of “Resistance Theatre”? is noticed more than before.
Theatre of resistance has remained still in the level of festival.
Theatre is resistance and sacred defense is in a very weak situation. Noticing to the theatre of resistance and sacred defense has been merely as much as holding one festival and presenting the performance report by the officials. They have not made efforts to spread it among people as a powerful and attractive genre.
It is because the officials merely wanted to keep this type of theatre with any price; but since it did not have any thinking support and good subjects were not chosen for this genre, this theatre remained in the level of a festival and presenting performance report.
Meanwhile, our artists performed plays with the subject of resistance, self sacrifice and martyrdom in individual activities and in the form of periodical actions; but since these activities were not continuous, they were not very influential. And they were not supported. That is why they were not seen and they were not ever lasting. It is while good works were made in television and cinema. And we witnessed fundamental changes in the field of sacred defense which resulted in creation of ever lasting works.
Theatre of resistance needs to be supported. Facilities should be provided to artists in order that they can perform their plays in suitable theatre halls. I believe that artists should make their efforts to create ever lasting works in this field by bringing innovation into their works. The works that are produced should be suitable with today’s situation; because the new generation – that has access to strong media – does not understand the concepts related to the 1360’s [1980’s decade]. Considering today’s needs of the society in different cultural, political, economic and social fields, artists can produce strong works in the field of “Resistance Theatre”? that can communicate with the audiences well.
We can never cause progress for theatre with the agendas.
We will not witness a very favorable situation in the theatre of resistance, self sacrifice and martyrdom if we want to look at it pessimistically. Unfortunately, there is one idea in our country and that is the time for such subjects has passed. It is while play writers of the world still write plays about this subject. Theatres with such subjects are still performed in the world. And even the works that are adapted from the old texts which have been performed several times are still welcomed by the audiences.
In my opinion, the main problem of sacred defense theatre lies in the issue of supervision and censorship. The officials who are responsible for supervising on such plays impose a lot of limitations for this type of theatre. And the next problem goes back to the artists. Some artists believe that they should certainly have critic view if they want to produce works in this field. They believe that they will be accused to have reactionary attitudes if they want to picture the realities of war. That is why they do not show much interest in working in this field.
Unfortunately, there has been no outstanding work produced in the field of sacred defense and resistance theatre. And a number of people abused this atmosphere and changed into the people who are opposed to this idea. In other words, they have appeared with the pose of intellectual people. There are also some people who have made these people famous by untrue propagations. Culture can never be progressed with agendas in my opinion. There is one way to take the theatre of resistance, self sacrifice and martyrdom out of stillness. To achieve this way, first of all artists should feel thin concern in them; and then officials should remove extra limitations from this way. Officials should have a more scientific look to this subject; because the issue of “Resistance Literature”? does not belong to a particular group of people. And according to the clear commands of God in the Holy Koran, any human is involved in the great jihad [Jihad means fighting in the way of God].
Artist wants freedom in action.
During the Islamic Revolution and sacred defense time, concepts such as self sacrifice and martyrdom have been institutionalized among people to a large extent. And people have interacted directly with these concepts. It is still a way ahead to pay attention and work on these concepts from the cultural and artistic point of view. It is because we have never looked at this issue futuristically and with precise cultural programming. Working on the concepts such as self sacrifice and martyrdom had its own special position by the time there was “Resistance”?; but after the end of the imposed war, we worked on these concepts less than before. It is while these values are considered as values and they will be never eliminated.
Shortages are more visible and noticeable in the field of literature and art. We have how ever had ever lasting works in this field too. As an example, I can refer to the works made by “Ali Reza Naderi”?. His works are really included in the ever lasting works. Works and names of some of the other artists will also remain on minds for a long time; because these artists have paid attention to parts of today’s needs of people in their works.
We need renovation in the field of sacred defense theatre. Absolutely, creativity can appear when freedom in action – of course in a defined frame work – exists. I think that views of people to such issues should be expanded. And even in some fields, we should revise our view. It is not necessary that all people look at war, resistance and the concept of self sacrifice and martyrdom in the same way. All people who are capable to work can enter this field and be active in this field considering the cultural and religious lines and borders that exist. We need different views in the theatre of resistance. Freedom in action of an artist is a good criterion for making changes in this field.
Artists have the capacity to work in the field of “Resistance Theatre”?.
“Martyr Foundation and Isargaran Affairs”? and some of the foundations have provided financial and spiritual supports to the theatre groups that work in the field of sacred defense by now. And glorious plays have been produced in these fields; but all capacities of this art have not been used in the fields of self sacrifice and martyrdom yet. That is why most of the plays have low quality. The capacities that the art of theatre has are how ever more than this.
Organizations and foundations such as “Martyr Foundation and Isargaran Affairs”? should support professional and glorious plays in this field more. This way, the circle of producing theatre works will continue. As the main responsible department of art in the country, “Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance”? is not very rich financially. This department can not fully support different theatre groups. That is why other foundations should come to the scene in order that theatre of resistance, self sacrifice and martyrdom prospers.
If all the artists are provided with the necessary supports, the level of presented plays in the field of resistance, defense, self sacrifice and martyrdom will certainly improve. We should trust all artists in order that the current obstacles and weaknesses in the field of self sacrifice and martyrdom theatre are removed.
We should notice to another point too. We should pay attention to the fact that renovation and new ideas say the first words in the atmosphere of today’s theatre. And it goes back to those in charge of programming and policy making for art. Strong and weak points will be certainly identified well if expert people - who are active in the field of theatre - are assigned as the directors of organizations or foundations. And grounds will be paved for appearance of new and creative ideas when these officials are completely familiar with the capacities of art of theatre.
But we should witness presenting weak works in the field of resistance, self sacrifice and martyrdom theatre by the time we face with the vacuum of expert people in the managerial section. The concept of “Resistance Theatre”? is very deep and has high capacity. And producing glorious and great works will appear parts of this concept.
Officials should be more patient.
The issue of war is an undeniable reality in all countries and among all the people of the world. We should have a realistic view to this issue as much as it is real. “Sacred Defense”? is a holy title that is put on the shoulders of the art of theatre. This title causes some limitations for theatre that makes it difficult to be active in this field. I believe that the “Resistance Theatre”? is a more suitable title for this type of theatre. Currently, the scared defense theatre is full of legend champions and extra ordinary people who do not commit sins and have the characteristics of a perfect man. This type of beyond- earthly and idealistic look - that is presented about the people who created epic during the imposed war - makes it impossible for the audiences to communicate with them.
I believe that bringing ordinary people into the scene of sacred defense theatre is a creative action in line with prosperity of resistance and self sacrifice theatre; the ordinary people who have deeply and really experienced war; the ordinary people who have been hurt during war but they have not been seen.
Today, we can work on the subject of war and sacred defense with a new and creative expression if we look at the simple and every day subjects that were not important during war. Officials of theatre also play a very important role in improving the level of quality of the produced plays in this field; but unfortunately, officials of theatre in our country are very impatient. They do not have the morale of accepting criticisms. For some reasons, they do not take risks. They do not allow the creative minds to gain new experiences. The issue of war and sacred defense is respectable and valuable; but the chance for thinking and creativity is taken from the artist by making sensitivity for the activities in this field.
Sacred defense is the concern of any artist; but how activities are carries out in this field depend on the treatment of officials. When they disagree with the innovative suggestions made by creative and young minds, they become disappointed and motiveless and quit working in this field. This way, these young people work on the subjects that are noticed by the officials.
Of course, I should mention the fact that not in all cases officials are the only root of negligence. Some times artists damage this art by producing weak plays and the plays which have been ordered.
Kheyrollah Taghiani -pour:
The unknown soldiers who were never seen
The extent of the concept of self sacrifice will be an element for creating innovation in this valuable culture. The culture of self sacrifice has a global meaning that is admired and honored in the whole world. Sacred defense is not the only evidence of self sacrifice that the culture of self sacrifice also finishes with finishing the eight years of sacred defense. There are still young people who have stood in the way of defending and protecting the security of their home land by the time they are alive. They have taken the lead in propagating the culture of self sacrifice and martyrdom. And according to the speeches of the Supreme Leader; “Keeping live the memory of martyrs is not less than martyrdom”? and it means that it is essential to carry out activities in the whole fields related to self sacrifice and martyrdom; but not merely in the field of eight years of sacred defense but in all periods of time.
It is the duty of every artist to work on the high values of sacred defense; but considering the culture of self sacrifice and martyrdom merely in the frame work of eight years of imposed war is an obstacle in the way of innovation and prosperity of the culture of self sacrifice and martyrdom.
The reason of why the culture of self sacrifice is merely limited to the eight years of imposed war may be the fact that the self sacrifice of border guards – who make efforts for protecting the security of their home land day and night and they are martyred when they are unknown for people – have not been paid attention by the media and artists. It is how ever one of the issues that working on them should be thought deeply in propagating the culture of self sacrifice and martyrdom.
In the field of sacred defense, there are many concepts that can be used for working on the subject of self sacrifice and martyrdom. Foundations and organizations have been established for producing works with such subjects; but considering these facilities, activities in the field of sacred defense has been limited to producing few films and/ or performing a limited number of plays and/ or publishing few titles of books.
However, I believe that the activities of artists during the recent years have been acceptable to some extent; because the youth of today is not only familiar with valuable concepts of sacred defense but also this young person will be even in the front line of defending our home land if a war begins.
Artists always face with problems in the way of propagating the culture of self sacrifice and martyrdom. And these problems can be solved with the support of officials. “Isar”? [Self sacrifice] in word means accepting difficulties because of the comfort of others. Therefore, our artists should eagerly welcome difficulties if they face with problems in the way of presenting these concepts in the form of artistic works.
Hamid Reza Azarang:
Resistance theatre needs an organized festival.
In order to prevent cliché performances in the occasional festivals especially Resistance Theatre Festival of Freeing Khorramshahr, I believe that no deep work will be produced by the time training and teaching are not permanent. We should not suffice to holding one festival during a particular period of time and just leave this issue by the next year; because holding festivals on particular occasions will not certainly cause new changes and events in the field of resistance theatre. It was supposed that the landscape of festivals were defined in a way that the next festival completes the weak points and negligence of the previous years. We have not had any festival that supports its winners by now. We have not had any festivals in which we can claim that dramatic texts were produced or at least 10 artists were trained. Unfortunately, there is no support for artists in order to make them sure about their income. They will focus on producing dramatic texts if they are sure they do not have financial problems. It has been many years that different festivals are held in the country. And after passing few years, they either finish or they lose prosperity. “Sacred Defense Theatre Festival”? is an example in this regard. This festival was held for 12 years. And while it was competing with “Fajr Theatre Festival”? it was suddenly dissolved. The landscape and performance of our managers are limited to presenting statistics and propagating. We never think about completing and developing one action till the end. We do not define a long term landscape for theatre. And we make our efforts that the festival has the highest quality in its first year. By this action, we intend to attract the attention of the officials in order to absorb more amount of budget for the next festivals. It has been two decades that passes since sacred defense.
I want to ask this question: Didn’t we have any interested people and the people who are interested in art or have artistic talents and were either Janbaz [war wounded] or the ones have experience war during all these years that they can transfer the concepts of that period of time properly to us?
We have not even invested on the people that we owe to them. And there is no mutual interaction between the forgotten generation [the generation that experienced war] and the generation that now wants to picture those days and the influences of war by using the art of theatre at the present time.
Mehrdad Rayani Makhsous:
Let’s be more patient in listening to words.
The issue of war has been paid attention by the artists during the recent years; but they have not paid attention to the side issues of war. After passing years after the end of the imposed war, changing the concepts and working on other aspects of the eight years of sacred defense are the basic conditions for “Sacred Defense Theatre”?. We should know the necessities and needs of every place and time in order to be able to establish a favorable communicative system.
Play writer should identify the concerns of war and work on them. In this period of time, some of the plays were teaching and analytic and some others were critical.
Theatre directors looked for virtues, analysis and the subjects in the field of sacred defense at the beginning of their activities. And each of these groups performed plays based on these views. Apart from the issues in the field of sacred defense that theatre directors worked on them at that time, there are some issues that their side effects appear after passing years after war. And it is itself a virgin subject for the play writers and theatre directors.
Although subjects and plays have not basically changed we can present them with a new atmosphere and a special form.
Within a particular period of time, theatre directors can even work on the life of Janbazan [The war wounded people]. They can show the contrast among people who lived at that period of time on the stage. All the issues are the conditions that change with passing the time. And the artist can sufficiently benefit from these issues in creating works.
During all these years, artists have focused more on the issues of war. And the side effects and side events of war have appeared in the few recent years. I believe that we should strengthen this part. We should be more patient in listening to the words. We should have a major look to this period of time in the history of our country.