This epic piece is based on the last work of Siavash Kasrai, Mohre-ye Sorkh (Scarlet Stone) which re-tells the most famous tragedy of Iranian mythology, namely Rostam and Sohrab. The production uses the modern rendition of Ferdowsi's ancient mythology to portray the current struggle of the people of Iran, especially those of the youth and women, in their brave quest for freedom and democracy. The goal is to make this project directly relevant to the current political and social climate of Iran and the Middle East in general. Scarlet Stone emphasizes the value of wisdom over infatuation and brings to our attention the need for all Iranians to take responsibility for the cultural, social, and political development of the country in the past 60 years.
UCSD's professor, director/composer- Shahrokh Yadegari in collaboration with French-Iranian choreographer/dancer Shahrokh Moshkin-Ghalam (also starring as Sohrab) have gathered some of the best performing talents of the Iranian diaspora to include Afshin Mofid - former NY ballet star (as Rostam), Ida Saki - young rising star dancer (Gordafarid -Sohrab's lover), Mariam Peretz - Bay Area-based acclaimed dancer (Tahmineh-Sohrab's mother) and Fatemeh Habibizad, the first female Iranian Naqqal - (Epic Story Teller, Ferdowsi) for this production. Advanced interactive video designed by Ian Wallace, and stunning lighting by Omar Ramos and Kristin Hayes define the world of the story.
Similar to the artistic form of Kasrai's poem, Scarlet Stone is staged with modern aesthetics and a deep commitment to the traditional and ancient values of Persian arts. Advanced interactive technology is used for production and projection/diffusion of video and sound, which will help the integration of the multiple disciplines used in this project. With a critical view, Scarlet Stone offers strength as well as hope. One can argue that much of what is addressed in Scarlet Stone, both in terms of societal problems and solutions are alive in the current social and political movements in Iran. For many years, the only option for defining a structural basis for a social or political movement was either leaning towards the left or the right. Kasrai, having come from the leftist tradition and having been the victim of the disillusionments which followed the left movement in Iran, proudly writes a hopeful poem for facing the problems which have plagued our times. We feel the current movements in Iran (and the Middle East in general), where all sections of people have come together to voice their desire for peaceful reform and freedom, are a living example of this approach.
Yadegari says: our goal is to produce Scarlet Stone in a way for it to become a catalyst for communication among Iranians, Iranian diaspora, and all those interested and invested in the evolution of the political and social life in the region. The production employs artists of highest caliber and uses exquisite interactive design technology to tell the touching and sobering story of Siavash Kasrai, in which he praises wise and passionate commitment to global human values as a beckon of hope for the current sociopolitical climate of Iran. We believe that the recent movements in Iran and later around the world, are fundamentally new forms of peaceful approach to political dissent, where actions are not fed by partisan politics, but by grass root social necessities. Moshkin-Ghalam believes today's generation of the youth and women in Iran are the generation of the `Shorab's and 'Tahmineh's, who bravely, passionately, and peacefully have been struggling against oppression. The non-violent resistances of Iranian people after the 2009 election in Iran is an excellent example of the committed, thoughtful, and intelligent political activism which Kasrai has depicted for us.