Nasser Rahmaninejad, "A Man of the Theatre: Survival as an Artist in Iran" (New Village Press, 2020)

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Nasser Rahmaninejad’s A Man of the Theatre: Survival as an Artist in Iran (New Village Press) provides a fascinating glimpse into the political and artistic life of Iran.

This memoir discusses the difficulties of creating progressive theatre under the murderous and repressive regime of the Shah (supported by the United States), the “prison commune” created by an ad hoc body of Marxist and Islamist political prisoners, the exhilaration of the Shah’s ouster in 1979, and the tragic defeat of the Left by the new religious Right after the revolution.

Throughout the book, Rahmaninejad’s storytelling voice is clear: impassioned, ironic, learned, elegant, and subtle. This is a story of resistance under conditions of intense repression, and of the power of art to change society.

Nasser Rahmaninejad started his theater career in 1959 in Iran. In response to the authoritarian cultural policies and censorship of the Shah’s regime, he founded the independent MEHR theatre group in 1966, which later became the Iran Theatre Association, until it was closed down by the Shah’s secret police in 1974. Sentenced to twelve years in prison and ultimately freed by the 1979 revolution, he resumed his theater work, but was soon forced into exile. He has since continued to teach and write; his plays in exile include My Heart, My Homeland (1995), and One Page of Exile (1996). His latest play is Between the Grave and the Moon, produced by the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University in 2016.

Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is AndyJBoyd.com, and he can be reached at andyjamesboyd@gmail.com.

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