Preview by Jack Foley
30 BIRD, London's only professional Anglo/Iranian theatre company,
is to present the premiere of Majnoun at Riverside Studios,
in Hammersmith, from Tuesday, March 30 to Sunday,
The production is written and directed by Mehrdad Seyf, and
portrays humorous snippets of everyday life in Iran and the modernisation
that swept the country during the 20th Century.
The performance unfolds through a montage of visual installations
images with a soundscape of traditional Iranian and underground
30 Bird presents a new perspective of this beguiling country,
in a surreal and comic exposé of the veil, the nature of
love and the relationship between Iran and the West.
Majnoun promises to blast the popular western image of Iran through
The seminal love story, Leili O Majnoun, by Nezami, the
12th Century Persian poet, was the original inspiration for writer
Mehrdad Seyf, with just a passing nod to the films of Hitchcock!
The Anglo-Iranian cast - including Kourosh Asad, Jonathan Hansler
and Roxana Pope - will give a bi-lingual performance, in both
Farsi and English.
30 Bird Productions is a film and theatre company producing new
writing using sculptural design and visual installations to create
surprise out of the ordinary.
Artistic director, Mehrdad Seyf, works closely with award-winning
resident designer, Leslie Travers, developing each project via
workshops, placing an emphasis on visual story-telling, without
sacrificing the oral tradition.
Established in 1995, by Mehrdad Seyf and Claire Summerfield,
30 Bird's previous productions include the critically-acclaimed
The Parable of the Blind and Death by Heroine, a
production that strengthened the company's creative reputation.
The company's first documentary, But you speak such good English,
was a huge success at festivals around the world culminating in
a screening at the Barbican, as part of its 2001 Iranian Contemporary
Art & Culture event.
30 Bird were resident theatre company for nearly two years at
Studio Voltaire, where they produced Jean Genet's The Maids.
In January 2003, the company was invited to Iran, as guests
of the 21st International Fadjr Festival of Theatre, Tehran.
A rehearsed reading of Majnoun was
performed, in January, at the V&A Museum, as part of the Friday
Late Iranian Night, organised in conjunction with the Iran Heritage
Co-founder and artistic director of 30 Bird, Mehrdad Seyf, was
Tehran and has lived in the UK since his teens. He was educated
at the Lycée Francais, in Tehran, and London.
After studying Literature and Philosophy, he trained as a psychoanalyst
at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research
and, subsequently, worked for three years as an analyst.
Mehrdad trained as an actor/director with Complicite, Monica
Pagneux, Rick Zoltowski and Lorna Marshall.
He has written all of 30 Bird's productions to date, as well
as the play script, The Veil, the film script Two Obstacles
to Marriage, and has recently completed research and development
on the libretto for an
opera - Beginnings.
Claire Summerfield, co-founder and Producer of 30 Bird Productions,
trained as an actress at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama
and with Complicite, Monica Pagneux, David Glass and Del La Guarda.
Claire has co-run 30 Bird Productions and produced all their
work to date.
In 1999, she co-wrote her first film script, Two Obstacles
to Marriage, with Mehrdad Seyf.
Resident designer, Leslie Travers, works closely with Mehrdad
Seyf from the very inception of a project, creating their distinctive
and highly original theatrical images.
Leslie was a top prize-winner in the European Opera Competition
organised by Camerata Nuova and the Confederation of European
Opera Houses for his designs for H. Marschner's opera Hans
Trained in theatre design, at the Wimbledon School of Art, his
designs include Shirley Valentine (Derby Playhouse), Swan
Lake (K-Ballet, Tokyo), Silent Cry (WYP), Tales
of Hoffmann (Folks Theatre, Stockholm), Veriete (Lindsay
Kemp Company, World tour), The Lark Ascending (English
National Ballet, London), and Faust (German National Films,
Majnoun, From March 30 to April 18 (Tuesdays to Sundays),
Riverside Studios, Studio 3, Crisp Road, W6 9RL. Box Office: 020
Times: Tuesday to Saturday 8pm, Sunday 7pm. Prices: £12
(Conc. £8), Tuesdays first 30 tickets £5, early bird,
group and school discounts available.