Hoopla

Shadow play: 'Feathers of Fire' recounts fates of star-crossed lovers

Persian epic brought to life with puppets, costumes and masks

Simorgh says goodbye in this scene from “Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic,” coming to Hancher Auditorium on Wednesday (4/4). The shadow play, projected on a cinema-size screen, is part of Hancher’s Embracing Complexity series exploring and celebrating Islamic art and Muslim artists. The show also will be performed April 8 at Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. (File photo: Kingorama.com.zip)
Simorgh says goodbye in this scene from “Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic,” coming to Hancher Auditorium on Wednesday (4/4). The shadow play, projected on a cinema-size screen, is part of Hancher’s Embracing Complexity series exploring and celebrating Islamic art and Muslim artists. The show also will be performed April 8 at Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. (File photo: Kingorama.com.zip)

“Feathers of Fire” is designed to ignite learning and entertainment across ages and cultures.

Created by Hamid Rahmanian, a Guggenheim fellowship-winning filmmaker and visual artist, the epic shadow play recounts the fates of star-crossed lovers who triumph against all odds, then give birth to the most important hero of Shahnameh and Iranian mythology: Rostam.

The magical tale of Zaul and Rudabeh is drawn from the 10th century Persian epic “Shahnameh (The Book of Kings).” Casting shadows on a cinema-size screen, puppets, costumes, masks and scenography will bring the story to life. The performance features “live animation” shadow casting technique techniques conceived by shadow master Larry Reed and an original score composed by Niyaz, the ensemble that wowed Hancher audiences with “The Fourth Light Project” on Sept. 30.

The show will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (4/4) at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City and at 3 p.m. April 8 at Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.

In Iowa City, these related residency events are free and open to the public:

l Hamid Rahmanian & The Shahnameh Project Lecture, 6:30 p.m. Monday (4/2), 116 Art Building West

Since the late 1980s, New York-based Iranian filmmaker and graphic artist Hamid Rahmanian has combined his love of traditional Persian art forms with modern technology to create new works of art that visually bridge the gaps of East and West. As a storyteller, his works have focused on people and issues that are rarely covered in the mainstream media, offering audiences new perspectives and intimate glimpses into otherwise little known worlds.

The Persian epic “Shahnameh” is one of the most important literary works of Iran. Written more than 1,000 years ago by the poet Ferdowsi, the piece is just one example of Iran’s rich and diverse culture. Rahmanian’s goal in taking on this project was to present a more holistic view of Middle Eastern cultures, particularly that of Iran, to wider audiences by presenting stories and aspects of Shahnameh in different media, which they have titled “The Shahnameh Project.”

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l Shadow Play! Puppetry Workshop, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (4/3), UI Museum of Natural History, Biosphere Discovery Hub

Learn to make and move shadow puppets in this family-friendly workshop led by master puppeteers from the cast of “Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic.”

“Feathers of Fire” is part of Hancher’s Embracing Complexity series exploring and celebrating Islamic art and Muslim artists. For a list of upcoming events, go to Hancher.uiowa.edu/embracing-complexity

GET OUT!

WHAT: “Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic”

IOWA CITY: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (4/4), Hancher Auditorium, 141 E. Park Rd., Iowa City; $10 to $40, Hancher Box Office, (319) 335-1160, 1-(800) HANCHER or Hancher.uiowa.edu/2017-18/FeathersofFire

CEDAR FALLS: 3 p.m. April 8, Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 8392 University Ave.; $1 buck-a-kid, $17.75 to $36.75, venue box office, (319) 273-4849 or Gbpac.com

RUN TIME: 70 minutes; suitable for all ages

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