Hafiz Karmali is an international theatre director who favors a highly stylized form of dance-theatre that is often inspired by art history and devotional literature — cf. Ali to Karim: A Tribute to the Ismaili Imams, a docu-drama that tells the story of the Aga Khan and his ancestors. Karmali regards drama as an act of prayer. Which is not to say that his work is without humor.
On the contrary, Hafiz believes Muslims today take themselves too seriously and should "get a sense of humor!" Mr. Karmali's recent production, Rumi x 7 = Tales from the Masnavi is performed in circus style featuring clowns and acrobats.
Hafiz Karmali has a special interest in cross-cultural performances showcasing indigenous performing arts of the Islamic world.
With theatre productions of esoteric/mystical fables such as Attar's Conference of the Birds (Ismaili Centre, London) and the Ikhwan al-Safa's Island of Animals (Golden Thread Productions, San Francisco), Hafiz seeks to promote a better understanding of the arts and ideas of the Muslim world.
Diane Steigerwald's monograph on Shahrastani's theosophy
Lectures du Coran by Mohammed Arkoun
An Introduction to Ismaili Philosophy by Daniel De Smet
In the video interview above, Hafiz Karmali discusses the 12th-century Persian poem, The Conference of the Birds. See also his essay on Howl Round that discusses the overlap of Jewish, Muslim and Christian performance traditions, Performing Arts in the Islamic World: The Divine Spark.
"Guest director Hafiz Karmali has received international acclaim for his cross-cultural performances showcasing indigenous performing arts of the Islamic world. In partnership with MusicUnitesUs." —Brandeis University, State of the Arts, Fall 2014 issue.
Rumi x 7 = Tales from the Masnavi was presented by Golden Thread Productions at the Asia Art Museum in San Francisco depicted here and at other venues in Berkeley, California, including The Sacred Snapshot Festival and the Jewish Cultural Centre.