Bianco Caffé
Photo
Sepideh Koosha, Mansour Taeed (right), Farhad Ayeesh in the play
"Taqseer" (Blame) by Ayeesh, circa 1985.

Darvag


By Sepideh Koosha
Berkeley, California

In 1985 a group of us theater lovers got together and formed a Farsi-speaking theater group. We called it "Darvag" which is a Gilani word for a frog that lives in bushes and croaks to announce the coming of the hoped-for rain.

Now, eleven years later, almost all the founding members are still active in the group. To date we have staged 35 different plays, of which 25 have been original works written by Darvag members. The other works have been by Beyzaie, Pinter, Dorfman, and Abbe, some of which have been translated by group members.

While we do stage more traditional or recognizable types of plays, we are also keen on experimenting with different forms and ideas. Today, one of our main challenges as émigrés is how to reflect the bicultural and bilingual aspects of Iranian-Americans.

If we had a motto, it would be to enjoy ourselves and collaborate. Everyone does whatever needs to be done at any given time, from raising the curtain, selling tickets, helping out with mailings, writing, and acting.

We're sort of a family, sometimes closer than a family, and at other times a dysfunctional one! Over the years we have gone through numerous overheated arguments about seemingly irreconcilable issues which end up in actual productions. This has been made possible by our love of theater, and the love and patience of our spouses! We have learned to "hang in there" and work things out.

After years of talking about it, in 1995 we finally registered ourselves as a non-profit organization in the hope of getting grants for more stimulating and challenging productions. We also anticipate enabling other artists to use our foundation as a vehicle to apply for grants. We are presently housed at the Darvag Theater, located at 3280 Adeline St. in Berkeley California.

Our upcoming productions are:

Morghe Sahar, by Sepideh Koosha (late January 1997)
Shaparak Khanom, by Bijan Mofid (September 1997)
The Maids, by Jean Genet (Summer 1997)

For questions/comments, email us at: [email protected]


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