Dorr-e Dari: A Poetic Crash Course in the Language of Love brings three artists sharing stories of Persian poetry and the multiple forms of love that exist around us. Presented in English and Persian, it's a moving evening with singing, dancing, storytelling and language in which to remember and reminisce through.
There is great rapport between the three performers, Mahdi Mohammadi, Hasiba Ebrahimi and Jawad Yaqoubi, and through this they are able to collectively project this friendliness and kindness to the audience. They recall anecdotes and stories of their childhood and adulthood with warmth and humour, including the consequences of three schoolboys who write a love letter to their classmate.This cultural exchange of their experiences in Iran and Kabul is accentuated by a simple yet effective set design with a number of Persian rugs running along the floor, giving an intimacy to the night, as if we are in their home, drinking tea and enjoying one another's company. Projections on the screen along the back of the stage set the scene for each story, such as images of mosques and neighbourhood homes.
Poetry in Persian and English is also displayed on the screen, allowing us to hear and see the Persian language and read the English translations (if needed). At one point, a performer speaks in Persian with the second following a beat later with the English interpretation, almost merging the two languages together and further binding this idea of love being universal.
Even with all stories focusing on love, there are differences in how these are told, which keep the audience engaged and avoids predictability and monotony. Some lean towards light-hearted and comical territory, while others carry a bit more emotional weight. The lighting design by Neil Simpson supports these tonal changes, covering the entire stage in soft light during the livelier moments and stripping it back to basics and spotlighting the storytellers when wanting to convey their vulnerability.
Dorr-e Dari is a heart-warming production that shows how despite coming from various walks of life, we are all bound by one thing, our humanity and love for each other. It doesn't matter if you're in a mosque in Iran or celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin; love is what connects us. Dorr-e Dari is a timely reminder that regardless of the distance between the people we care for and ourselves, our love travels with us wherever we go, even while lying on the beach at Bondi.
Dorr-e Dari: A Poetic Crash Course in the Language of Love was performed at Arts Centre Melbourne between 2 - 3 September 2022.
Image credit: Anna Kucera