Director and Creator: Leila Ghaznavi
Reviewer: Alice Longhurst[rating:5]
Two black silhouettes embrace on a white cloth backdrop proclaiming in beautiful Persian poetry their love for each other. This is the tale of modern Iran, a story of revolution, war, loss and betrayal told through the remembered past of our heroine, Darya. What makes the production truly magical, though, is the interweaving of dances, puppetry, projection, recitals of Rumi and the silhouetted lovers to build an evocative and powerful narrative. Scenes of tragedy are rendered all the more poignant by being played out with puppets, or by the faceless silhouettes on the screen, while Darya’s expressive dance with a red silk scarf, performed when her family and her country seems to be crumbling around her, seems to sum up perfectly her mood.
Innovative and unusual, “Silken Veils” explores subject matter which is frequently harrowing, and does so in a sensitive and deeply moving way. Respite from the sadness is carefully broken by moments of playfulness as Darya reminisces about her childhood. The acting is faultless throughout, with the lead Darya skilfully played by creator and director Leila Ghaznavi. Ghaznavi has crafted a beautiful production, but one which also has a serious message as a political play. A passionate exploration of a nation and a people with a turbulent past and an uncertain future.