After the widely acclaimed performances in San Francisco last October
Bijan Mofid's Shaparak Khanom
February 8, 1998
616 2nd Street, Davis, California
3 pm and 6 pm
A word from the director, Zara Hooshmand
I am writing to you because I believe that what I have to say concerns you personally as an Iranian-American who has successfully made a home in this country. As you may know, I was a child of just such a family. I grew up in an American environment and discovered my roots in Iranian culture very late. But when I did I found a very precious treasure that I want to pass on to my own children.
Darvag Arts Foundation in Berkeley, California, is eager to present a secoond bilingual production of The Butterfly in Davis, California, following its successful run in San Francisco last October. There is unprecedented openness to multicultural arts in America now. This is a fragile and precious opportunity to introduce a positive vision of Iranian culture to American audiences.
The Butterfly is a parable of spiritual growth through social responsibility, simple as a folktale and universal in its appeal. This production is Iranian in flavor while telling a story easily understood by children of all cultures. It tells the story of a butterfly, all innocence and beauty, who stumbles into a dark cellar and is trapped in a spider's web. The spider terrifies her, but his desperate dance, driven by hunger, also inspires her awe and pity. He offers a deal: the butterfly will go free if she can entice another creature into his web. If she fails, she must return to satisfy his hunger.
In her search for a victim, the butterfly meets the inhabitants of the cellar: a grasshopper who has worked here as a carpenter for so long that he barely remembers the sunlight, a mother beetle struggling to support her dozens of children, a honeybee who falls in love with her... As she comes to know each creature, compassion prevents her from betraying them. Still, she longs for the sunlight and the garden, and is dismayed by the insects' resignation to life in the dark cellar, where their only joy is a magic lantern peepshow provided by a firefly, whose images have displaced their memories of the outside world. Another entertainer helps the butterfly to resolve her dilemma, a magician-fly with no illusions who works the humble magic of humor to restore hope.
But in the end, it is her own compassion that saves her from the spider and frees her into the sunlight. The bilingual script introduces Bijan's poetic voice to Iranian American children and yet is easily comprehensible to a child who speaks no Farsi at all. Our dream is that an Iranian child could proudly invite her American friends to see The Butterfly.
If you have any questions at all about the production, or any suggestions for our fund-raising efforts, please don't hesitate to call me at 415/641-5274 . Thank you very much for your support.