Review by: Tom Mackan
Homosexuality is illegal in Iran. They can do this, it seems. Because it exists, it seems that rational thinking in Iranian society stopped suddenly in its evolution. Just stopped. Iranians who are homosexual are constitutionally put on alert that their existence will be fraught with fear, suffering, even death.
That’s what I can rationally draw from the hour I spent at the Aquarius venue this afternoon (Friday). Izad Etamadi’s one-man performance is of a young man desperate to live and love as much as the next person. That his loving is homo rather than hetero has trapped him a frightening world of religious fundamentalism and frightening hate. In his role as the young man Navid, Etamadi gives us a heart-wrenching hour of angst and fear. Wonderful to relate however, is how exactly he aims at our hearts and minds with his sincerity and his love. It’s not his sexuality that drives the strength to escape, not fear, although both are eminently evident, it’s his need to love. In this little hour of exquisite theatre we are flooded with the need for it. And unless you’re made of pastiche, dear reader, you will, as we did, return, in a profound theatrical silence, our love to him.
Borderland. Reach Borderland and he will find rescue. The journey is uncannily vivid as Etamadi creates it for us, and we ache with the fear and desperation his Navid shares with us, but he, Navid, does reach his borderland but only his first stop. Next he must reach a place near us, he must come to us (let me say Canada, although it’s only intimated) and we will embrace him and shelter him in our generous society, and we’ll rejoice as his love, his ability to find love, is realized, and we know it can be. Let him put his faith in our laws that we will grant him the vital status of refugee that will get him his place as our neighbour and our friend, safe and at peace. It’s this young actor’s delightful genius, his skill that works on us. Using the minimum of minimalist setting and props he plays all the characters with aching conviction and creative skill. Bravo, we cry, in our hearts.
Dear reader, I am unable to and unwilling to take you to the outcome of this tale. It’s for you to take in yourself, and for you to find the way to deal with it on your own terms. It will be for you to rise in ovation at the end and applaud till it hurts. Please see if you can make the final performance at Aquarius studio space at 8pm tomorrow, Sunday, and fill the house. Do it