September 11, 2023


But there are always more stories to tell from Shahnameh and more ways to tell them. The initial challenge made by Melissa has now reached hundreds of thousands of appreciative people through other media and platforms. For example, an 80-minute puppet show, Song of the North, features 483 puppets, nine actors and 208 animated backgrounds. “There is nothing like it,” says Hamid. “I literally sat down and dedicated three years of my life to it. Whatever I had in my heart and my talent and my mind, I poured into this production. It’s an almost cinematic experience. For the audience, it’s like watching a movie while backstage we are actually making that movie in real time.”  Another hugely elaborate shadow theatre piece, Feathers of Fire, won the 2019 UNIMA award for excellence in live performance and design and found a high-profile fan in the legendary film director Francis Ford Coppola, who praised its “spectacular cinematic wizardry.” Coppola then provided the introduction to an audiobook of Shahnameh in which the stories are brilliantly told by award-winning voice actor Marc Thompson, accompanied by 12 hours of evocative sound design and music  Then, an animated film and dynamic lighting design by Hamid formed the backdrop to concerts by cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, in collaboration with virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor. Unfortunately, the performances were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  “I’m thinking about actually reviving that and expanding it into a much bigger concert,” says Hamid.

Full article on IRANWIRE.