Stage Door News
Toronto: Bustle & Beast present “Anahita’s Republic” at Factory Theatre March 17-April 2
Monday, March 6, 2023
Award-winning theatre company Bustle & Beast presents: Anahita’s Republic
World premiere of a timely, provocative exploration of women’s rights, freedom, family and power by Iranian-Canadian playwright Hengameh E. Rice
On the eve of a crucial secret meeting of leaders of Iran’s women’s movement, a young woman clad in the head and body covering of a chador arrives at Anahita’s compound carrying explosive secrets – secrets that might destroy everything Anahita has tried to build.
Anahita’s Republic, the provocative new play from Iranian-Canadian writers Hengameh E. Rice, grapples with the agonizing yet deeply inspiring past and present of Iran.
“I left Iran on the day Neda Soltan, the young philosophy student participating in election protests, was murdered by the regime and, as I sat safe in my home in Canada, I felt helpless and guilty of my safety,” says Rice. “The only power I had was to write about what happened and to be truthful.”
Anahita refuses to wear the hijab and decides to build her own republic, where she is free to live, dress, and speak as she pleases. From inside her compound, she controls the family business, and the life of her brother, Cyrus. But it is at a profound cost.
“Toronto is home to one of the largest Iranian communities in the world. Bustle & Beast Theatre is committed and honoured to be supporting this work,” says Artistic Producer Brenley Charkow. “Our goal is for audiences to appreciate the complexities of a country like Iran, and to engage with us in these conversations about what it means to be free.”
Under the constant threat of harassment and imprisonment, strong and educated women are now firmly at the forefront of the movement to advance their own rights and the well-being of their country. “I am thrilled to see strong, tenacious, powerful Iranian women drive the action and foster this crucial discussion around what it means to be free,” adds Rice.
Anahita’s Republic runs at the Factory Studio Theatre from March 17 to April 2, 2023.
PREVIEW: MARCH 17 at 7:30PM
OPENING: MARCH 18 AT 7:30PM
PERFORMANCES: MARCH 17- APRIL 2, 2023. TUESDAY THROUGH SATURDAYS AT 7:30PM; MATINEES SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AT 2PM
TICKETS: $25 - $50 general admission; PWYC Sundays
Cast and crew:
FEATURING: Sama Mousavi, Omar Alex Khan, Nima Ghomeshi, and Mahsa Ershadifar. Set Design by Sim Suzer. Sound Design by Heidi Chan. Costume Design by Niloufar Ziaee. Lighting Design by Siobhan Sleath, Stage Manager by Anna Kaltenbach, Assistant Director Aylin Oyan Salahshoor. Dramaturge Mukonzi Wa Musyoki. Production Manager Laura Philipps. Produced by Bustle & Beast. Assistant Producer Carmen Osahor
About the playwright:
Hengameh E. Rice are a writing team, with Hengameh born in Shiraz, Iran and Rice born in Edmonton, Alberta. Due to the current situation in Iran, they are writing this piece under this pseudonym. Hengameh is a strong promoter of inclusion and equity in theatre, and makes cross-cultural awareness a critical part of her life and work. She was a recent participant in the 2023 Stratford Festival Playwright’ Retreat. At present, they are working on their second play together, The Dance.
About the company:
Bustle & Beast is an award-winning Canadian independent theatre company driven by an insatiable curiosity in examining what it means to be human, and are committed to elevating women's voices in theatre.