The Islamic Drama

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Islamic Drama
Islamic Drama.jpg
AuthorJamshid Malekpour

The book The Islamic Drama: Ta’ziyah, taking a theatrical viewpoint, has attempted to trace and discuss the origins and development of the Ta′ziyeh and provide a guide for those who wish to carry out further research on the Ta′ziyeh.

About the author[edit | edit source]

Jamshid Malekpour, Iranian writer, researcher, theater director and professor, is one of the most important and well-known figures in the field of research on Iranian drama. He holds a Master of Arts in Performing Arts from the United States and a PhD in Performing Arts from Australia. The reference book and three volumes of dramatic literature in Iran, one of the most important comprehensive researches on the history of drama in Iran, is by this author. Excerpts. from the history of world drama, the evolution of principles and concepts in classical drama, and the evolution of themes in simile reading are among his other researches. Jamshid Malekpour has appeared as a director and screenwriter in feature films such as "Red Wind" and "Didar". Prior to emigrating to Australia, he was the director of the Performing Arts Center of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the instructor of the University of the Arts Complex, the School of Fine Arts and the Center for Art Education. Malekpour has been a visiting professor at Kuwait Golf University since 2005.

About the book[edit | edit source]

This book published in Routledge; 1st edition (February 19, 2004), has 256 pages and best sellers rank of 7,697,914 in Books. It is translated into Percian by Farzam Haghighi published in Bidgol publications (1399).

Malekpour in his book introduces Islam, events related to Ta′ziyeh, and rituals in different civilizations. He tries to explain the roots and similarities of Ta′ziyeh with these rituals.

Abstract of chapters[edit | edit source]

Chapter 1: Iran, the Birthplace of the Ta’ziyeh[edit | edit source]

This chapter studies Iran’s history and culture and proves that the present boundaries of the country are the result of the political and military invasions of the past two centuries (the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) during the rule of the Qajar dynasty. At first Ta′ziyeh enjoyed more freedom under the Islamic regime and received more support from the public, but it had to answer the challenge of those critics (religious leaders) who were raising their voices against religious drama. The author believes that t Ta′ziyeh, historically, culturally and religiously, is strong enough to stand against such The Islamic drama opposition and the performers of the Ta′ziyeh have learned how to fight and win and celebrate, and how to lose and hide and survive for the next round.

Chapter 2: Islam and the Ta’ziyeh[edit | edit source]

Understanding the Ta′ziyeh as a form of performing art, needs understanding the fact that most of its elements, such as plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle and song, have been taken directly from the Shi′a branch of Islam. Consequently, it is absolutely necessary to understand the nature of this faith. This is particularly vital because, despite the fact that Islam is one of the world’s great religions and has over one billion followers, very few Westerners know about its central beliefs. Indeed, Islam has been so misunderstood and feared in the Western world that all kinds of fictions have been invented about it. The author in this chapter studies the history of Islam religion from the beginning of its existence by the Prophet Muhammad, at the age of 40 in 610 AD, from the Quraish tribe in Hijaz (Saudi Arabia) up to the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and mourning for him. Hussein went to Karbala to be martyred in order to protect the basis of Islam. At the same time, his death made him a living symbol or role model for those who are in search of truth and justice in this world.  

Chapter 3: The Origin and Development of the Ta’ziyeh[edit | edit source]

This chapter establishes the importance of the development of the Ta′ziyeh, many characteristics of its heroes and battle scenes—and in particular, its story-telling technique—have been embodied in the Ta′ziyeh.

Chapter 4: Ta’ziyeh Plays[edit | edit source]

This chapter examines the factors that influenced the development and character of the Ta′ziyeh scripts, including:  the masters of the Ta′ziyeh, improvisation, and the significant role played by ‘copyists’. Then divides the Ta′ziyeh plays into four groups based on their differing structural features and subject matters: prologues, episodes, sub-episodes and comic episodes, and explains them in details. At the end of this part, the author discusses a brief concluding summary of some of the characteristics of the Ta′ziyeh plays to reveal the ways in which the Ta′ziyeh plays developed over time.  

Chapter 5: The Ta’ziyeh in Performance[edit | edit source]

In this chapter the author tries to show the relationship between Ta′ziyeh and theatre. He believes that the Ta′ziyeh is theatre, but that it has managed, at the same time, to keep the ritualistic elements of participation and belief in its performances. That is why he has identified the Ta′ziyeh in this book as a ritualistic form of theatre. Then he examines the building of some playhouses that helped in the process of advancing professionalism in the Middle East. At the end of this chapter and based on the evidence, provides some conclusions about the building used for Ta′ziyeh performances.

A Ta′ziyeh performance transcends the limits of formal theatre and takes both the performers and the audience into a new world in which the space is filled with imagination. A Ta′ziyeh performance is a ‘mirror of the invisible’; something that formal theatre can never be… (Page 118)

Chapter 6: The Ta’ziyeh in the Islamic World[edit | edit source]

Although, the Shi′a religion soon found followers all over the Islamic world, from the Middle East to Africa, and even spread to the Caribbean, the author in this chapter tries to examine whether or not Shi′a was able to help in the development or transformation of the Ta′ziyeh into these non-Iranian countries including: in Iraq, in Lebanon, in the sub-continent of India (Pakistan, Bangladesh and India), and in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. However, he believes that the evidence relating to the Ta′ziyeh and the related mourning rituals in countries outside Iran is so slight that a great deal of research needs to be carried out before estimating the importance of the Ta′ziyeh in the wider Islamic world.

Chapter 7: The Ta’ziyeh Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow[edit | edit source]

In this chapter the author examines the condition of Ta′ziyeh at three points in time: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. About the yesterday of the Ta′ziyeh, he believes that it is important to discuss the attitude of the Islamic high clergy, the ayatollahs, towards the performance of the Ta′ziyeh. About today, he puts the Ta′ziyeh solely into the hands of the government. And finally, about the tomorrow of the Ta′ziyeh, he would like to emphasize that the tomorrow of the Ta′ziyeh is tied up with the political future of the country.

The Ta′ziyeh, like other forms of cultural activity, needs to have freedom of expression and development to flourish…  (Page 128)

Source[edit | edit source]