Iran Arrests Theater Artists Over Shakespeare Production


Authorities in Iran have arrested a couple of people who were working on a theater production of a Shakespeare play — for the crime of working on a theater production of a Shakespeare play.

And this is the country that Barack Obama had insisted was a solid partner for peace, right?

Iran authorities arrested the play director and the theater manager for putting on a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The country’s cultural minister said he arrested the manager of the theater that allowed the play to go forth, as well as the director of the production, at the command of the courts.

From American Military News:

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Authorities in Iran have detained two artists in connection with a production of Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shahram Karami, an Iranian cultural official, told the state news agency IRNA on September 10 that the judiciary had ordered the director of the play, Maryam Kazemi, and the manager of the theater staging it, Saeed Assadi, to be taken into custody.

Karami linked the detention of the two on the evening of September 9 to a trailer for the show.

Kazemi, the director, had previously described the production of Shakespeare’s fantastical romantic comedy as a combination of dance, musical, and classical theater.

arami said the trailer had prompted a “misunderstanding” and that a court had agreed to release the pair on bail of around $24,000 each.

He did not elaborate on the content of the trailer at issue, though a clip for the show posted on social media showed women and men dancing together, which is illegal under stringent rules in the Islamic republic forbidding dancing between members of the opposite sex.

In 2014, Iran arrested six men and women for dancing in a YouTube video to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy.

The three men and three women were later sentenced to suspended jail time and lashes. The arrests resulted in international condemnation and calls for their release.

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