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Katrina inspires Iranian director to stage "Uncle Tom's Cabin"

TEHRAN, Nov. 12 (Mehr News Agency) -- Discrimination against racial minorities in housing and the slowness in delivering relief after the destructive Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and other parts of the U.S. South have inspired Iranian director Behruz Gharibpur to make plans to stage "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in Tehran in the upcoming year.

Authored by American writer and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852) is a forceful indictment of slavery and one of the most powerful novels of its kind in American literature.

Gharibpur had dramatized "Uncle Tom's Cabin" before, and Qatreh Publications is to publish a book of the text of the play in Persian in the near future.

"After I staged 'Les MisÚrables' (in Tehran) in 1997, I was interested in performing 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', but the opportunity was not provided for the event," he told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) on Friday.

Staged at the Bahman Cultural Center in southern Tehran, "Les MisÚrables" was also warmly welcomed by critics and theatergoers.

"I believe that Blacks living in the U.S. are still suffering from discrimination. Based on my direct observation and studies, the view considering American Blacks as second-class citizens is still common in that country. One and a half centuries after 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' was written, Hurricane Katrina showed that discrimination is still alive. This fact made me more determined to stage the play," he added.

"I am planning for the play and I will try to select the best and most talented of stage and screen. I'm not interested in selecting celebrities for the cast. Young gifted actors are more important for me," Gharibpur said.

"The venue where the play will be staged has not been chosen, but we need a hall appropriate for a professional performance," he explained.

According to Gharibpur, the play will probably be staged at the main hall of the City Theater, Vahdat Hall, or Shahid Avini Hall of the Bahman Cultural Center.

Iranian director Behruz Gharibpur has recently staged a drama entitled "Icaro" in order to commemorate the innovative Russian theater director of the 1920s and 1930s Vsevolod Meyerhold at the Chaharsu Hall of Tehran's City Theater.

Gharibpur is to perform his opera puppet show "Rustam and Sohrab" in several countries in early 2006. The puppet show was warmly welcomed when it was on stage at Tehran's Ferdowsi Hall from mid January to late April.

So far, Italy, Austria, France, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Turkey have asked to host performances of the show.

... Payvand News - 2/10/06 ... --

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