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Roberto Ciulli

Roberto Ciulli
Source: Roberto Ciulli

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Dialogue between cultures

The message is: Dialogue not war! Following the terror attack on the World Trade Center the Iranian drama performances in Mülheim are an important channel of communication.

They act in headscarves. On the stage the actresses are strictly forbidden to have any bodily contact with the actors. But this does not detract from the modernity and relevance of their plays. "Nameless Maria" portrays the ordeal of a woman traumatised in one of the wars which tore Yugoslavia apart. The play called "Negro" focuses on the issue of white man's rule over blacks.

It is the fourth time that the Iranian Theatre Group have appeared as guest performers in North Rhine-Westphalia. But the terror attack on the New York World Trade Center on September 11 has totally changed the theatre festival. Everyone is aware of the importance of cultural dialogue; the performances are sold out.

Back home in Iran, theatres are booming. The type of plays now being performed are attracting above all younger people – the under 30-years-olds. The German audiences in Mülheim are positively surprised by their vehement condemnation of violence and the creativity shown by the authors and directors in circumventing censorship.

Roberto Ciulli has spent three years trying to arrange an exchange with actors from the strictly Islamic country, before finally greeting the first Iranian ensemble in Mülheim. In turn, his theatre, based in Germany's traditional industrial heartland of the Ruhr Region, is the first to appear in front of audiences in Iran.

Dirk Bitzer

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