Guest of a Few Days
by Moshen Yalfani
Among the dire symptoms and consequences of the Islamic Republic of Iran, one was the coup de grậce on the concept of revolution itself. The last generation of fighters and strugglers —– that over a span of century and a half had lived with the dream of achieving a social order based on reason and justice and had idealized revolution as the ultimate instrument for the realization of such an order—– this selfless generation, on the day after the revolution, was driven from the threshold of humanity as guest of a few days.
Mohsen Yalfani was born in 1943 in Hamadan, Iran. He wrote and staged his first plays in his last year of high school, and submitted one to the Center for Dramatic Arts in Tehran, for which he won a prize. At the age of 18 he moved to Tehran and joined the independent Anahita School of Drama. In 1970 he wrote his famous play The Teachers, which was staged in Tehran. After ten nights the performances were stopped by the Shah’s “SAVAK” and Yalfani was arrested and spent three months in prison. All of Yalfani’s plays were then prohibited from being staged, and he was unsuccessful, for many years, in publishing or staging any of his work. In 1974, while rehearsing Maxim Gorky’s Les Petites Bourgeois with the Iran Theatre Society, Yalfani and the entire cast and crew were arrested, and he was imprisoned for four years. While in prison he translated the book The Voice Of Actor, by Cecily Bery and wrote his one-act play On the Beach. In 1978, Yalfani and a thousand other political prisoners were released. From that moment forth Yalfani spent most of his time as an active member of Iranian Writers Association and twice (in 1979 and 1981) was elected as member of the board of directors. In 1981, the Iranian Writers Association was attacked by the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the association was closed down. In 1982, Yalfani crossed the border and left Iran, in disguise, and sought political asylum in France. He now lives in Paris. During his long exile in France he has penned several one-act plays, two long plays, a film script, and a number of articles, and he has collaborated with a friend in publishing the periodical Landscape. The English translation of one of these plays, Guest of a Few Days, was well received in Chicago, in December of 2004, in a staged reading by Silk Road Theatre Project (Jamil Khoury, Artistic Director).