Be the one who you’re not
Concept and Direction: Saman Arastou (Tehran)
Guest performance during FIND 2017
In »Be the one who you’re not« director, writer and actor Saman Arastou addresses the situation of transsexuals in Iran. Using his own biography as a starting point he deploys the simplest of theatrical techniques to make intensely tangible the violence which society visits upon people who feel they are of a different gender to the one they were born with. Saman Arastou was born a woman but decided in 2008 to undergo a sex change operation, something which is actually legal in Iran. Since a fatwa by the country’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini, transsexuality has been considered a curable disease. Whoever feels trapped in the wrong body may have an operation. But, although the surgical intervention may be compatible with contemporary Islam in Iran, every day life for transsexuals in this strongly Shiite theocracy is characterised by stigmatisation and intolerance. And homosexuality is still punishable in Iran. For many homo sexuals, the operation is the only way to escape this punishment. In »Be the one who you’re not« the power of the theocracy even makes itself felt in the protecting atmosphere of the family: Arastou is pushed back into the role of a woman by his siblings and brutally forced into a wedding dress to marry a man. A silent, powerful evening about a person who does not want to be forced to be either a man or a woman.
An event within the cultural program »Iranian Modernity« by the Goethe-Institut.