29 October 2012, 15:22

Cross culture dialogue: Shakespeare’s theatre inspired by Persian poem

Cross culture dialogue: Shakespeare’s theatre inspired by Persian poem

The Folger Theatre is staging a piece of “wisdom literature” – “the Conference of Birds”, a rare 12th-century Persian fable about the search for God.

In the poem, the birds from across the world gather to decide who is to be their king. The hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical Persian bird deemed equivalent to the western phoenix. The hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represent a human fault which prevents man from attaining enlightenment. When the group of thirty birds finally reach the dwelling place of the Simorgh, all they find is a lake in which they see their own reflection.

According to Aaron Posner, the play director, the Persian poem “illuminates the soul of Sufism”.

He says: “Exploring this play… means dealing with …”the real stuff” – the big, complex, core questions of our lives… one wonderful thing that plays can do is help us take a moment out of our busy lives to explore our “real stuff” in new and different ways.”

The stage version of the play is written by Jean-Claude Carrière and Peter Brook. The music to the play is performed by Tom Teasley.

The Folger Theater is part of the Folger Shakespeare Library, the world's largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare. The Library is located in Washington D.C., the United States.

Voice of Russia, Folger.edu, Wikipedia

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