How did Iranian theatre go from Shiite passion plays, slapstick, and animal play to the productions of Molière by street entertainers and political mimed performances by governors in support of the Constitutional Revolution? The evolution of Iranian theatre from indigenous performance to European-style playwriting in mid-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries is the focus of this book. By making Iran a case-study, Juggling Revolutionaries takes a new approach to analyze theatrical works as a source for political and social history, while it narrates the development of modern and revolutionary theatre in connection with preexisting performance traditions. Although traditional performance influenced modern theatre, what is known to us as “indigenous” consists of a myriad of elements that do not belong to a certain time or place. Thus, this book traces theatrical transmissions in Iran through the waves of migration to and from the Balkans and Anatolia on the one side, and the Iranian plateau, Greater Khorasan, Transoxiana, and the West and North India on the other side. Included in these migration waves of the early modern and modern periods were the transmission of people’s theatres, customs, and pliant forms of identity.
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