Orghast

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Orghast was an experimental play based on the myth of Prometheus, written by Peter Brook and Ted Hughes[1] in an invented language of the same name along with classical Greek and Avestan, and performed in 1971 at the Festival of Arts of Shiraz-Persepolis, which was held annually during the reign of the Shah. It was performed in two parts, with the first performed at Persepolis around dusk, and the second at the nearby site of Naqsh-e Rustam at dawn.[2][3]

Mythic play at Persepolis[edit]

Orghast was the International Centre for Theatre Research's first public performance at an international event. Peter Brook and Ted Hughes collaborated to create a comprehensive myth, weaving in and out of the Prometheus myth, to be performed at the Shiraz/Persepolis festival in Iran in 1971, which gave the group its first commission. It was written in part in an invented language that Hughes called Orghast, and this eventually also became the name of the piece.[1] Classical Greek and Avesta were also used. Avesta is a two thousand year old ceremonial language, in which the letters of the words contain indications of how particular sounds are intended to be heard. The piece was developed through improvisation with actors and experimentation, led by Brook and Hughes.[4]

The story of this production is documented in a book by A.C.H. Smith[2] and a chapter by Glenn Meredith.[5]

Brook's and Hughes' purpose in using these languages was to communicate with the audience in pure sound, in a mode in which meaning is conveyed in such a way that transcends rational discourse. According to his own descriptions, Brook's goals are related to those of sacred and ritual theater. Believing "the essence of theater to be magic," Orghast was supposed to bring the audience to alternate modes of consciousness, either "beyond themselves or below themselves."[3]

Actors[edit]

  • Cameroon: Daniel Kamwa
  • England : Robert Lloyd, Pauline Munro, Bruce Myers, Natasha Parry, Irene Worth
  • France: Claude Confortès, Sylvain Corthay
  • Iran: Nozar Azadi, Farkhundeh Baver, Dariush Farhang, Mohamed-Bagher Ghaffari, Hushang Ghovanlou, Said Oveyesi, Parviz Porhoseini, Syavash Tahmoures, Saddredin Zahed
  • Japan : Katsuhiro Oida
  • Mali: Malick Bagayogo
  • Portugal: Joao Mota
  • Spain: Paloma Matta
  • USA: Michèle Collison, Andreas Katsulas, Lou Zeldis

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Orghast at Persepolis". Orghast at Persepolis by A.C.H. Smith. The Complete Review. 2002–2009. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Smith, Anthony Charles H. (1973). Orghast at Persepolis. Viking Press. 
  3. ^ a b Gorguin, Iraj (1971). Fifth Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis. Tehran: Public Relations Bureau of the Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis. 
  4. ^ Brook, Peter, The Shifting Point: Forty Years of Theatrical Exploration (London: Methuen, 1987.
  5. ^ Helfer, Richard; Loney, Glenn Meredith (1998). Peter Brook: Oxford to Orghast. Contemporary Theatre Studies 27. Harwood Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-5702-207-9. 

External links[edit]

  • Smith, Anthony Charles H. (1973). Orghast at Persepolis. Viking Press. 
  • Helfer, Richard; Loney, Glenn Meredith (1998). Peter Brook: Oxford to Orghast. Contemporary Theatre Studies 27. Harwood Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-5702-207-9. 
  • Parsons, Marnie (1994). Touch monkeys: nonsense strategies for reading twentieth-century poetry. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-2983-3. 
  • Gorguin, Iraj (1971). Fifth Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis. Tehran: Public Relations Bureau of the Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis.