A magical evening of large-scale shadow puppetry that transports the audience into ancient worlds full of color, history and stunning imagery. An inspirational epic, from ancient Persia, comes to life in this stunning multi-disciplinary performance created through shadow puppetry, projected animation, music, movement, and theater. 483 handmade puppets are used to tell the story of Manijeh, a courageous heroine who uses her strengths and determination to rescue her beloved and help prevent a war. Adapted from the Book of Kings (Shahnameh), a historical and cultural touchstone that is a national treasure in Iran, Song of the North challenges the art of storytelling. A one-of-a-kind multimedia experience that celebrates culture, collaboration, experimentation, and unity.
Artist Statement About Iran
Song of the North is an adapted tale from Iran’s great national tome, Shahnameh (Book of Kings) which was written by the Persian poet, Ferdowsi one thousand years ago. In epic lines of poetry, Ferdowsi retells the stories of the Iranian people fighting injustice and tyranny. Throughout its 60,000 lines, Ferdowsi berates powerful rulers who turn against wisdom and forsake compassion. In these days of turmoil in Iran, at a time when our collective heart breaks for the suffering of the innocent yet swells with hope for a better future, we raise our voices in support of the brave women and men risking their lives for freedom, whose shared spirit embodies the very essence of the Epic of the Persian Kings–Shahnameh.
Song of the North is a cinematic “live animation” experience that combines the manual art of shadow play with digital audio/visual components to tell the fantastic tale of Manijeh, a Persian heroine admired for her strength and determination, who rescues her beloved from a perilous predicament of her own making and helps prevent war between rival kingdoms. The story follows an Iranian knight who crosses the boarder to Turan–Iran’s sworn enemy – to attend a festival and falls madly in love with Princess Manijeh. As the festival comes to an end, Manijeh leans over her forlorn love and sings an enchanted melody, putting him to sleep. Bijan wakes up inside the Turanian castle with Manijeh by his side. They innocently enjoy their time together until her father, the king of Turan, learns of the intruder’s presence. Irate, King Afrasayb has Bijan thrown into a well and strips his daughter of her titles and property. At the well’s edge, an impoverished Manijeh sings and entertains Bijan with stories of yore and begs for food scraps from local villagers. Manijeh learns that an Iranian merchant is in a nearby town. She tells Bijan not to give up hope and sets off to get help. Upon greeting the merchant, she learns he is the great hero Rostam, sent from Iran to find Bijan. Together, they devise a plan to rescue the knight. Rostam heads to the well and Manijeh sets off to confront her father, as spies informed the king of Rostam’s arrival in Turan. Manijeh reproaches her father for his impetuous and heartless act then sings out a magical melody that puts the king’s army to sleep. She returns to the well where Rostam has rescued Bijan. The band crosses the border before the Turanian army can regroup. Safe in Iran, Manijeh is commended for her strength and determination and the two lovers live happily ever after.
Storytelling at its best, this is a very special TITAS presentation. Wonderful for the entire family, don’t miss Hamid Rahmanian’s Song Of The North!
“The Persian soul and culture vibrate in this original and poetic show.”
Venue Moody Performance Hall
Dates January 13 – 14, 2023