Vahid Rahbani

Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, Tehran prosecutor announced that the director and organizers of the play Hedda Gabler in Tehran have been summoned to the prosecutor’s office for questioning.

The prosecutor said that the organizers of the play have been called to give explanations about the theatre production of Hedda Gabler which was recently shut down amidst controversy regarding its content.

He added that according to reports, the content and execution of this play has presented a number of “difficulties” which has led to the shut down of the play. Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi maintained that any activity that endangers the cultural security of the society will be firmly confronted.

Fars news agency published a report on the play claiming it “promoted hedonism.” Fars has further described this production of Hedda Gabler  as vulgar and it has condemned its sexual content.

According to Fars news agency, the play presents having multiple husbands as an ordinary affair and “uses symbols attributed to the sects connected with sexual slavery and freemasonry.”

The adverse reports in the media has led to the closing of the play; however, Mohammad Hosseini, Iranian minister of culture has said: “We have looked into the matter, and it is not as they have been saying; there is a lot of exaggeration in this issue.”

Sattar Hedayatkhah, spokeswoman for the cultural commission of the parliament has however said that Hedda Gabler goes against the values of Iranian people and added that they will confront the organizers at the first opportunity.

Hedda Gabler, a play by Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, follows the relations between the newly married Hedda, her husband and another man.

Iranian authorities evaluate plays before giving them permit for go on stage. This production of Hedda Gabler had already acquired its permit and had its opening in the Fajr Theatre Festival.

Vahid Rahbani, a graduate of the Canadian National Theatre School,  is the director of this production of the classical Ibsen play in Ian.