Iphigenia: Book of Change
The film of a live performance is inspired by Euripides’ plays of Iphigenia as well as stories of contemporary women who have endured, survived, and escaped captivity. A common thread throughout the sources of inspiration is the concept of a prison in one’s mind versus a physical place of imprisonment or incarceration. Written and directed by Elise Kermani with music by Kermani and Todd Lent, the performance and filming was produced by MiShinnah Productions in 2006. Artists in New York City and Los Angeles form the collaboration, along with the incorporation of puppetry, dance, video design and music.
This performance piece found its origins in the experience and survival by a relative of Kermani at Tehran’s Evin Prison when she was 16 years old. How does one survive this experience of solitary confinement, physical, psychological, and emotional torture? As an “archeologist of Greek myth” Kermani found a vehicle for her production through the ancient Greek plays about Iphigenia. It is an intense journey through a series of seemingly unrelated events united by situations of confinement, censorship, fear and death. Throughout all this, however, there is a sense of hope of a better future if the characters involved continue to persevere, seek knowledge and listen to their muses. The film concludes with an excerpt of Ellen McLaughlin’s interpretation of Iphigenia in Tauris.
-Dr. Katherine Schwab, Fairfield University
The Iphigenia Project is an ongoing hybrid performance project directed by Elise Kermani that includes the collaboration of artists from many genres including literature, puppetry, theater, dance, visual art/video design and music. It is inspired by the 1977 film Iphigenia by Michael Cacoyannis (who died in 2011), by the 400 BCE play Iphigenia among the Taurians by Euripides, and by the stories and memoirs of contemporary women who have survived captivity.
The Iphigenia Project probes questions of imperial authority over individual self-determination. The project is currently in four parts: I. Iphigenia in Tehran, II. Other Sisters, III. In Exile, and IV. A Book of Change.
For more information about The Iphigenia Project contact MiShinnah Productions at: info-at-mishinnah-dot-org.