TEHRAN (Iranart) -Director of UNIMA in Iran (Union International de la Marionnette) Hamidreza Ardalan says the epic play Rostam and Div went on stage at the Kazakhstan Expo 2017 in Astana.
Some 115 countries and representatives from companies worldwide are attending, including Iran, the United States, Brazil, Russia, India and China, which considers Kazakhstan an important cornerstone of Beijing’s new Silk Road. Roughly three million people visited Astana, home to the exposition.
The Iranian puppet show was performed on the sidelines of the main event by the Institute for Development of Contemporary Arts. According to Ardalan, Iran has become one of the main producers of giant puppets in the world. “This has come in collaboration with UNIMA in organizing workshops in Tehran as well as the free zones of Arvand and Anzali,” he added.
About the performances in Astana he said the idea was to promote Iranian culture, including legendary characters such as those in Ferdowsi’s epic book Shahnameh (The Book of Kings).
The Shahnameh is the world's longest epic poem written by a single poet. It tells mainly the mythical and to some extent the historical past of the Persian Empire. Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and the greater region influenced by the Persian culture (such as Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and Dagestan) celebrate this national epic.
According to the director of UNIMA in Iran, the giant puppets (five to six meters long) moved with music in Expo open space, displaying the Iranian traditional rituals. “The performances were aimed at familiarizing the kids and teenagers present in Expo with Iranian culture. They were set to get the attention of visitors, given the fact that they are mythical characters. They were short musicals and the shows involved audiences as well,” he added.
UNIMA (International Puppetry Association) was founded in Prague in 1929. In 1981, the French puppeteer Jacques Felix moved UNIMA's headquarters to France. UNIMA is affiliated to UNESCO and is a member of the International Theatre Institute.