*First version

design & direction Saman Arastou

assistant director Amirmo’ayad Bavand

with Afsaneh Mirbagheri, Nadia Bavand, Sima Shokri, Mahi Azimi, Amirmo’ayad Bavand, Saman Arastou

stage design Saman Arastou

stage manager Mana Sharifian

running time 45m

production Ava-e Divanegan Theater Group

ensemble manager Amirmo’ayad Bavand

*Second Version

design & direction Saman Arastou

assistant director Amirmo’ayad Bavand

with Afsaneh Mirbagheri, Nadia Bavand, Amirmo’ayad Bavand, Saman Arastou

stage design Saman Arastou

Photographers Babak Haghi, Ali Marzban

running time 45m

production Ava-e Divanegan Theater Group

ensemble manager Amirmo’ayad Bavand

Note by Director

“Be who you’re not” is a documentary story from a global reality. A story of my biography that is the same with many other persons.
My forced-marriage was not just a simple one. It happened 16 years before my sex change surgery. Maybe a person do not want to remember it’s bitter story but a Theater director will not pass from a tragedy that is the result of unawareness.
All of the plays which directed by me will prepare at the long workshops rehearsal that is based on pedagogy and recognizing the nature of the characters.
For example “Be who you’re not” grew up with me over 26 years from that horrible happening. This performance prepared after 3 years workshops, Actors and director’s research about this issue in other persons and also body workout.
I inspired by Antonin Artaud and Augusto Boal in my plays.
“Be who you’re not” inspired from theater of the oppressed. It concentrate on concept and looking for making a new human.

About Performance

In »Be who you’re not« director, writer and actor Saman Arastou addresses the situation of transsexuals in Iran. Using his own biography as a starting point he deploys the simplest of theatrical techniques to make intensely tangible the violence which society visits upon people who feel they are of a different gender to the one they were born with. Saman Arastou was born a woman but decided in 2008 to undergo a sex change operation, something which is actually legal in Iran. Since a fatwa by the country’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini, transsexuality has been considered a curable disease. Whoever feels trapped in the wrong body may have an operation. But, although the surgical intervention may be compatible with contemporary Islam in Iran, every day life for transsexuals in this strongly Shiite theocracy is characterised by stigmatisation and intolerance. And homosexuality is still punishable in Iran. For many homo sexuals, the operation is the only way to escape this punishment. In »Be the one who you’re not« the power of the theocracy even makes itself felt in the protecting atmosphere of the family: Arastou is pushed back into the role of a woman by his siblings and brutally forced into a wedding dress to marry a man. A silent, powerful evening about a person who does not want to be forced to be either a man or a woman. (written by Schaubuehne theater company/Berlin)

This performance  performed:

1. As only guest from Asia at FIND2017 festival invited by Schaubuehne theater company (Berlin/2017)
2. La-Nef theater company (Paris/2017)
3. Best performance in Iran-France performance week. (Tehran/2016)
4. Fadjr international theater festival. (Tehran/2017)
5. Fadjr international theater festival. (Tehran/2018)
6. As public show. (35 shows/Tehran/2017)