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Where are they now?
The characters in "Shahr-e Qesseh" 38 years later

January 13, 2005

Remember Bijan Mofid's 'Shahr-e-Qesseh', the city between the lush green jungle, and wild exquisite flowers, right next to the crystal clear stream. A place of harmony where all its inhabitants loved one another. A place where all the animals treasured one another and assisted the needy. A place where strangers and the poor were helped and welcomed. A place devoid of corruption and theft. A place filled with love and happiness.

Where might they all be now? What has happened to the City of Tales where the unfortunate visiting Elephant was re-named Manoucher. What happened to Mr. Mouse in love? Did Auntie Cockroach remain faithful to him? Was the Donkey in high spirits with the legal settlement on the theft of his identity? Is English still the hip language to learn? And off course where is the Fox?

Bijan Mofid wrote the play in 1967. We should all agree that a tad bit has changed since then. This is my take on what has happened to our heroes:

Manoucher (formally known as the Elephant)
Finally, after enduring endless abuse, double-digit monthly inflation and uncertain future for his kids, left the City of Tales in 2001. He immigrated to Toronto and became the VP of The Humane Society of Canada. He currently lives on 445 Young Street, right next to a large water fountain, which reminds him of younger days. He avoids any interactions with donkeys and foxes and has recently invested in a new set of gold plated dentures.

Auntie Cockroach (Khaleh Sooskeh)
Having swapped her mini-skirts for a skin-tight mini-manteau, she dumped the poor Mr. Mouse and became engaged to an industrialist with regime connections. She later divorced him and became the Socialite Hostess of City of Tales parties. She was recently busted at a New Year's Eve Toga Party and spent few nights in Vozar-a prison.

The Donkey
The Donkey has grown a bit of facial hair, wears a light green outfit, mans useless checkpoints and pesters Auntie Cockroach for her mini-hejab from time to time.

Mr. Mouse
Broken hearted, Agha Moosheh joined the first human wave that entered Iraq's Al-Faw peninsula in 1986 and has been missing ever since.

The Fox
Now, now we all know what's happened to The Fox. After all, it was Henry Kissinger who once said 'Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac'.

Morshed and Bache Morshed
These two became filmmakers, got rich, and frequent the Cannes Film Festival. They no longer care about Shirin and Farhad. They are concentrating on the plight of Afghan kids and contemporary installation art.

The Jen
The evil ghost has become a neo-con and still terrorizes the inhabitants of the city. However, true to form, he is open for negotiating any potential deal.

The Parrot
Suffering through censorship and abuse, the Parrot eventually became a reformist journalist. He started a newspaper eight years ago and was subsequently jailed for deviant morality. He now blogs daily from Evin prison.

The Bear
The Bear's friendship with the Fox became quite handy eventually. He now has a state sanctioned monopoly on imports of 37" plasma tvs with integrated digital tuners. He no longer courts Auntie Cockroach and is happily married to a 21-year-old university student with faux-blond hair and silicon breast implants from LA who has zero housekeeping skills but speaks fluent English.

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