Rumi x 7 = Tales from the Masnavi

Performed by a seven-member ensemble of actors, acrobats, musicians and dancers, the production includes familiar tales such as The Elephant in Darkness and The Grammarian and Boatman, as well as lesser-known gems. The fables are presented as fun-filled vignettes that fuse classical Persian poetry with circus arts and commedia dell arte. Together they celebrate the cycle of life and humanity's universal bond. Originally performed in the mountains of Northern Pakistan and subsequently in a mosque courtyard in Tashkent Uzbekistan, Rumi x 7 = Tales from the Masnavi premiered in the US in November 2011 and will tour in the Spring of 2013.

Rumi x7 is presented in an eclectic style that fuses eastern and western traditions. Offering youth and families an opportunity to experience Islam in an inspiring and entertaining way, Rumi x7 aims to provide the general public alternative images of Islam while providing the Muslim community self-affirming narratives that help connect the younger generation with their heritage's playful side. Rumi x 7 is the first play in a new series, Islam 101, designed to educate the public about Islam through theater and explain the emergence of Islam as an Abrahamic faith — the third dimension of what until now has been exclusively known as the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Rumi x 7, Tales from the Masnavi

 

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The Masnavi's Origins

Rumi's Masnavi is widely recognized as one of the greatest collections of Sufi poetry ever written and is revered throughout the Middle East and around the world as the Quran in Persian. The thirteenth-century Sufi poet Jalal al-din Rumi composed this edifying work for the benefit of his students in the order named after him, popularly known as the whirling dervishes. In order to convey his message of divine love and unity he threaded together entertaining stories and allegorical homilies.

Drawing from folk tales as well as sacred history, Rumi's poetry is often comic as well as spiritually profound. The Masnavi was composed during the final years of Rumi's life. He began dictating the first book around the age of 54 circa 1258 and continued composing verses until his death in 1273. The sixth and final book would remain incomplete.

Producer: Torange Yeghiazarian, Golden Thread Productions; Ensemble: Jamie Coventry, Jon Deline, Aylin Guvenc, Mahsa Matin, Aliah Najmabadi, Maruf Noyoft, Carla Pauli, Beatrice Basso, Rachel Jacobs, Wiley Naman Strasser, George Psarras, Ali Tahb; Stage Manager: Jesse Brownstein; Costumes: Ninva Warda; Lighting: Jim Cave; Props: Daniel Yelen; Graphic Design: Navid G. Maghami; Program Co-ordinator: Laine Forman; Photos: DavidAllenStudio.com