FEATHERS OF FIRE - Largest Shadow-Puppet Play Premieres in Los Angeles

May 5, 2016
Contact: Roxie Sarhangi | press@farhang.org | 310-666-1546

Mark Amin Presents:
Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic
May 27 - May 29 at The Ralph Freud Playhouse


"One of the great epics of all time and my favorite "Shahnameh" brought to life in a spectacular fashion by Hamid Rahmanian with shadow puppet design and cinematic wizardry." - Frances Ford Coppola

Los Angeles (May 5, 2016) - Audiences can prepare for a spectacle like none they've ever seen. Visual artist and 2014 Guggenheim Fellow Hamid Rahmanian is partnering with ShadowLight Productions and Mark Amin to present the largest shadow-puppet play ever to be performed: Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic, based on the 10th-century classic Persian epic, Shahnameh (The Book of Kings).

Suitable for all ages, Feathers of Fire tells the action-packed tale of Zaul and Rudabeh, two star-crossed lovers of old Persia. Zaul is raised by a mythical bird in the wild. His deep love for Rudabeh enables them both to triumph over inconceivable odds, and then give birth to a beloved son, Rostam - the most important mythological hero of Shahnameh.

The artistic style and visually stunning imagery created by Rahmanian encompass over 500 years of the visual arts from cultures ranging from India to the Mediterranean Sea (c. 14th-19th centuries). "Feathers of Fire has elements from the Jungle Book, from Rapunzel and Romeo and Juliet," says Hamid Rahmanian. "But it precedes all these stories. Zaul's story is over 1,000 years old - that's what makes it so universal."

Based on Rahmanian's own illustrated book, Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings (2013), Feathers of Fire utilizes internationally recognized theater director Larry Reed's hallmark shadow casting methods. Reed is one of the few American dalangs ("shadow masters") of traditional Balinese Wayang Kulit style. In this show, more than 160 shadow puppets and performers are featured in elaborate, handmade masks and costumes. Over 100 digitally animated backgrounds lend an authentic texture to the performance - all seamlessly choreographed and projected on a 15' x 30' screen-creating the feeling of live animation. The original score is by acclaimed Iranian composers Loga Ramin Torkian and Azam Ail of the band Niyaz, who have been described by the Huffington Post as "an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music."

"When I immigrated to the U.S. I realized that many people knew nothing about Iran's rich history in the arts and literature," says Rahmanian. "I want to be a cultural activist, a cultural ambassador by showing the contribution that Persian culture has brought to civilization. I hope that Feathers of Fire presents a more holistic view of Iran. Moving past politics and religion, it shows Iran and its culture in the universal context of a shared and common world mythology."

Feathers of Fire runs May 27th to May 29th at The Ralph Freud Playhouse, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, Calif., 90095.

WHAT/WHERE: Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic at The Ralph Freud Playhouse

WHEN: May 27, 8 p.m.; May 28, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; May 29, 3 p.m.

TICKETS: General admission tickets are $30, $50, $70 and are available here.

All ACCESS TICKET: $250 (limited seats available) Includes a signed edition of The Epic of the Persian Kings regular edition and a backstage tour with director, Hamid Rahmanian. Tickets are available by calling UCLA box office at 310-825-2101.

Conceived, designed and directed by award-winning Iranian-American artist Hamid Rahmanian In collaboration with Larry Reed and ShadowLight Productions

Presented by Mark Amin

Sponsored by the Farhang Foundation, UCLA Iranian Studies, Cannon USA

Key Artists:

Hamid Rahmanian (Creator, Designer and Director) a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, is an award-winning visual artist/filmmaker born and educated in Tehran, Iran. His work centers on film and graphic arts. His narrative and documentary films have premiered at Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca and IDFA Film Festivals. He has won numerous international awards and his works have been televised on international networks including PBS, Sundance Channel, IFC, Channel 4, BBC, and Al Jazeera. Rahmanian undertook the immense task of illustrating and commissioning a new translation and adaptation of Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, entitled, Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings (2013, Quantuck Lane Press). Rahmanian has created a pop-up book based on his Shahnameh, which is due out in the fall of 2016.

Larry Reed (Shadow Master) is an internationally recognized theater director and is one of the few American dalangs ("shadow masters") of traditional Balinese Wayang Kulit. The founder/artistic Director of ShadowLight Productions,Reedhas pioneered contemporary shadow theater by integrating traditional shadow theatre techniques with film, modern theatre and dance styles. Truly a multidisciplinary artist, Reed has also written, directed and produced films in the U.S. and Mexico. Shadow Master (1979) has been shown on the PBS and Discovery Channels. Reed has garnered numerous awards and honors, and was named one of Top 50 Artists in the San Francisco Bay Area by Metropolitan Magazine in 1995 and 1996.

Loga Ramin Torkian (Composer) is an Iranian-born multi-instrumentalist and composer. He is recognized internationally for his groundbreaking work with World Music groups Niyaz and Axiom Of Choice, both of which he co-founded. A highly-gifted composer and a visionary, Torkian is greatly respected for his ability to adapt the Persian classical repertoire to his own unique and modern compositions. In 2014 Torkian was nominated for a Canadian JUNO Award in the Category of "Best World Music Album" for the album he recorded with musical partner Azam Ali titled, "Lamentation of Swans". He continues to produce albums and tour worldwide with NIYAZ.

Azam Ali (Composer) is one of the most prolific, versatile, and gifted singers/ composers on the international music stage today. Ali's most notable work is with the cutting-edge world music electro-acoustic project Niyaz. Her distinctive voice can be heard on myriad film and television scores including "Thor- The Dark World", "Matrix- Revolutions", "Prince of Persia-The Sands of Time", "The Fight Club", "True Blood", "Alias", "The Agency", and "Prison Break". She has also collaborated with numerous musicians such as Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, Dredg, Chris Vrenna (formerly of Nine Inch Nails), Kodo, Zakir Hussain, and Mickey Hart.

Presented by: 

Mark Amin (Producer) is the founder and CEO of Sobini Films, a film production and financing company. Amin's most recent credits include Sony Picture Classics' Miles Ahead starring Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor and IFC's Good Kill starring Ethan Hawke. Amin's upcoming projects include a theatrical reboot of the Zorro franchise and Russ & Roger starring Will Ferrell and Josh Gad with STX Entertainment. In addition to his work at Sobini, Amin served as Vice Chairman of Lionsgate Entertainment. During Amin's nine year term, Lionsgate produced and distributed such critically acclaimed films as Monster's Ball, which earned Halle Barry an Academy Award for Best Actress, and Crash which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Prior to his work with Lionsgate and Sobini, Amin founded Trimark Pictures and served as the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until the company merged with Lionsgate. Amin's past credits include the critically acclaimed Eve's Bayou starring Samuel Jackson, the Emmy Award winning The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn starring Sidney Poitier, and Frida, distributed by Miramax Films, which garnered six Academy Award nominations.

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About Farhang Foundation

Farhang Foundation is a non-religious, non-political and not-for-profit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. The foundation supports a broad range of academic activities in Southern California by funding university programs, publications and conferences. The foundation also supports diverse cultural programs such as the celebration of Nowruz, Shabe-Yalda, Mehregan, theater and dance performances, film screenings and poetry readings in Southern California. And, in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions, Farhang Foundation funds major programs and exhibitions about Iran and its culture. However, the content, viewpoints or biases expressed by individual artists, academics, institutions or events supported by the foundation belong solely to each individual party and do not necessarily reflect the views of Farhang Foundation. For more info visit Farhang.org.