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I said this to the bird

I said this to the bird

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The Institute of Postcolonial Studies

78-80 Curzon Street

North Melbourne, VIC 3051

Australia

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Four strangers, all Iranian men, congregate in the hall of a migrant resource centre somewhere in Melbourne. Join us to discuss the play.

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I said this to the bird

A panel discussion

Four strangers, all Iranian men, congregate in the hall of a migrant resource centre somewhere in Melbourne. In their coming together they take the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Join playwright Mammad Aidani, and collaborators Reza Kaviani, Mehrfam Naimi, Mahdi Gholamshahidani and Ramin Montazeri who will talk about the process of conceiving, developing and staging I said to the bird.

I said this to the bird

Displacement and Isolation in the time of Covid

Four strangers, all Iranian men, congregate in the hall of a migrant resource centre somewhere in Melbourne. Their meeting coincides with a lifting of public health restrictions that have prohibited social gatherings and kept the city silent and in lockdown, for many weeks. While all residents of the city have suffered during this unprecedented period of immobility, for recently arrived asylum seekers and refugees, the enforced isolation has been an especially gruelling and emotionally turbulent ordeal.

In their coming together at the migrant resource centre, Arjang, Wahid, Hamed and Noshan take the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions, from anxiety, to hostility, paranoia, alienation, anger, cut across by brief moments of hope and exhilaration. I said this to the bird confronts its audience with the destabilising experience of being displaced and othered, the frailty and thinness of friendship, and the challenges of enduring unrelenting loneliness and abandonment. Amid such psychologically unsettling circumstances, there is palpable relief in small moments that dissolve this anxious intensity—in recalled memories of home, in glimpses of laughter and love, in wrestling with writing to give voice to unspeakable experiences, and for one man, in conversations with a bird who provides a constant ear at a time when there is no one else to listen.

In this one-act performance, playwright Mammad Aidani brings to life the culmination of two years of therapeutic improvisational work and writing workshops he has undertaken with the project’s participants, Reza Kaviani, Mehrfam Naemi, Asgher Mirhoseini and Farhad Bakhshi. The play will be performed by Reza Kaviani, Mehrfam Naimi and Ramin Montazeri, and Mahdi Gholamshahidani.

Performances of I said this to the bird will follow at IPCS on Thursday June 16 and Friday June 17, and once more in North Melbourne on Friday June 24 and Saturday June 25.

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Mammad Aidani is a playwright and theatre director and holds a PhD in hermeneutics, phenomenological and existential psychology and an MA in sociolinguistics. Mammad’s research focuses on Middle Eastern communities, especially Iranians who have experienced violence and torture, suffering in the diaspora, and have had to address forms of social and cultural alienation both in their home countries and the countries in which they have resettled in the West. Mammad’s theoretical work is concerned with the history of thought, hermeneutics and phenomenology, and the role of lived narratives and the formation of identity and memory in existential psychology. Mammad has taught on the latter with the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy. His Narrative and Violence: Ways of Suffering amongst Iranian Men in Diaspora (Routledge, 2020) has been recently reedited in paperback.

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The Institute of Postcolonial Studies

78-80 Curzon Street

North Melbourne, VIC 3051

Australia

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