Country Iran

Discipline Theater

Audience Youth | Adults

Recomended for +12

Duration 60 minutes

Language Persian with Spanish subtitles

Dates January 3, 4 and 5, 20.00h

Warning Involves actresses smoking on stage

Anchored by two fine, understated performances, Timeloss has a stealthy, slow-building beauty and a longing, even against its better judgment, to turn back the clock

The New York Times

In 2001, 22 year old Iranian director and playwright Amir Reza Koohestani went through a break up that he was only able to get over by bringing it to the stage. Dance on Glasses starred two actors who spend the play facing one another on opposite sides of a four meter long table, talking about why they are breaking up without moving from their seats. This sensitive and minimalist piece won him international acclaim and toured the world for four years. He went on to write and direct several other productions, all - in one way or another - about people incapable of standing up for themselves and fighting. However, he never completely forgot about Dance on Glasses: people kept mentioning it to him and asking him to write something similar. One day, he went back to it, imagining the same characters 12 years later in a piece called Timeloss. The former lovers are older, sitting at different tables and distant, in spite of a love they can’t forget, however hard they try.

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Direction

Amir Reza Koohestani

(Iran, 1978)

Amir Reza Koohestani (Iran, 1978) is an Iranian director and playwright and one of the most renowned figures on his country’s theater scene. With the play Dance on Glasses (2001) – a success with both critics and audiences alike - he gained international recognition, taking it on tour for four years and performing it at important venues in Europe and the United States. Several European theaters have commissioned pieces by him, including the Schauspielhaus in Cologne and the Théâtre de Besançon. He has co-written scripts for film, been involved in performance art and directed the opera Tannhaüser in 2017. His latest project was an adaptation of the book The Attack by Yasmina Khadra for the Munich Kammerspiele.

Written, directed and set design by Amir Reza Koohestani | Cast Mohmmadhassan Madjooni and Mahin Sadri (on video: Abed Aabest and Behdokht Valian) | Assistant director Mohammad Reza Hosseinzadeh | Sound and music Pouya Pouramin | Video and technical director Davoud Sadri | Costume designer Negar Nemati | Produced by Mehr Theater Group | Co-produced by Marseille-Provence Actors’ Festival – European Capital of Culture, La Bâtie – Geneva Festival | Head producers Mohammad Reza Hosseinzadeh and Pierre Reis | Company and tour manager Pierre Reis

  • Timeloss is an opportunity to find out more about the everyday life and people in Iran, a country the West knows little about apart from the stereotypes and misconceptions peddled by the media. As director Amir Reza Koohestani explains, "Western journalists and critics would like me to talk about executions, the ban on homosexuality and the compulsory veil to make me a living witness of the events related by their media every day. For their part, my people would like me to be an ambassador, presenting a different image to the one that depicts them as representatives of the ‘axis of evil’ or victims”.

  • In a country as religious as Iran, a break up has complex social and moral implications, although Timeloss also tackles universal topics that everyone deals with: denying yourself and your past, rejecting the part of your past you don’t want to deal with and the inertia of those who refuse to move out of their comfort zone and make a change.

  • The idea of following a character’s life has used in film by directors such as François Truffault and Richard Linklater. In most cases, the passing of time is recreated, with this progression mostly depending on special effects. Timeloss is an exception though: the same characters from Dance on Glasses appear 12 years later and, although Chilean audiences didn’t have the opportunity to see the first play, they can watch extracts from it projected on a screen.

  • The audience not only witnesses the maturity and mental and emotional changes the protagonists have gone through but also the transformation of the director himself: “Ahmadinejad, Bush and Sarkozy came to power and have gone again, everything has changed. I’m not longer this angry young man. To be angry, you have to have faith in something, in a path, in a truth, and, what’s more, have the strength to fight to get there. I admit that I have nothing of that today”, he says.

  • The play has been successfully performed in cities such as New York (where it was critically acclaimed by the media, including The New York Times), Paris, Brussels, Beirut, Tehran and Rotterdam.
  • Iran. This Middle Eastern state has almost 80 million inhabitants. After 70 years of monarchial rule, it became an Islamic republic after the 1979 revolution. It has a questionable human rights record according to organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, groups that set the bar for rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of education and information. Political opposition is often censored and those involved imprisoned, like Jafar Panahi, one of the country’s most important filmmakers, who is under house arrest and forbidden from making films.

  • Iranian theater. There are no bars, clubs or movie theaters showing foreign films in Iran, which is why going to the theater is one of the main attractions for young people and there are a large number of local productions. “It might not be an ideal place for young people, but it’s a paradise for thespians”, explains Koohestani, who says that seeing spectators lining up for one of his plays gives him such an amazing feeling that he’s prepared to confront the strictest board of censors to make it happen.

  • Censorship. Artistic output in Iran is prolific (Iranian cinema is both highly regarded and internationally renowned, thanks to directors such as Abbas Kiarostami, Asghar Farhadi and Jafar Panahi), but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make: everything is officially censored before the audience gets to see it. Up until now, the only one of Amir Reza Koohestani’s plays to be censored has been Ivanov by Chekhov. Athough Timeloss disconcerted censors because of its personal nature, it was not modified.

«For Iranians, the consequences of separation are not easy to bear. Timeloss is not only about personal intimacy, but also the seeming impossibility of living a single, independent life in Iran»

The Guardian

«Hearing people talk about love in a foreign language always gives you a special feeling. And then there’s the way Koohestani keeps you on the edge of your seat, his talent for dialogue, his way of hinting at things»

Le Monde

Anchored by two fine, understated performances, Timeloss has a stealthy, slow-building beauty and a longing, even against its better judgment, to turn back the clock

The New York Times

«For Iranians, the consequences of separation are not easy to bear. Timeloss is not only about personal intimacy, but also the seeming impossibility of living a single, independent life in Iran»

The Guardian

«Hearing people talk about love in a foreign language always gives you a special feeling. And then there’s the way Koohestani keeps you on the edge of your seat, his talent for dialogue, his way of hinting at things»

Le Monde

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