Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

American Troupe Performs a Historic Show in Tehran

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At a rare visit by American performers to the Iran, a troupe of Chicago-based puppeteers performed a historic show at the Tehran City Theater.

A troupe of artists from the Manual Cinema group presented Ada/Ava, a live cinematic shadow puppet show at the Tehran Puppet Festival, in the first such performance by an American troupe at the Tehran event in nearly 17 years, according to a report by AP.

Drew Dir, the co-director of the 10-member troupe told the audience after the performance that “You are the best audience we have ever had and met. We have been so impressed by all the artists and puppeteers here,”

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In this Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, American puppeteer Julia Miller, second right, speaks as her group members Sara Fornace, right, co-director Drew Dir, second left, and Kyle Vegter listen during an interview with The Associated Press two days prior to the group’s performance for the Tehran Mobarak Puppet Festival in Iran. (Photo credit: AP/Vahid Salemi)

Visits by American artists are very rare in Iran because of the current relations between the two countries.

Sarah Fornace, one of the troupe’s members, said she was surprised by the standing ovation.

“It is a real honor and it does not happen all the time. So I felt really lucky to get one here,” she said.

Saeed Leilaz, a Tehran-based political analyst believed the American attendance at the puppet show was an indication of improving relations after decades of mistrust.

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“People on both side have no particular problem with each other,” he said. “Iranians in general and the middle class in particular seek better ties with the United States.”

It was the first performance by the group outside the United States .The Ada/Ava show has been on the stage in the US since 2011. The performers arrived on Monday and will leave on Sunday.

There will be 47 shows in the festival, including eight foreign ones from the United States, Afghanistan, Armenia, China, Germany, Netherlands, Serbia and Spain.

The festival began its activities in 1989.

“I was surprised that an American group attended the festival. It is a very positive move,” said Rahman Bayani a 32-year-old engineer who was in the audience. “It is very good indicating there is friendship between the nations.”

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