The Clown and I(Monotalkhak)
Photos by:Mani Lotfizadeh
Video: Amin Kaffashzadeh,Mahdi Hosseini
Graphic Designer: Shokkouh Ahmadi
Tehran - June 2012
Berlin - July 2014
Shiraz - August 2014
The exceptional narration of the Clown in this story is built upon the Iranian traditional theater.
A experiential combination of Naqqali ( storytelling), Siahbazi and Ma’reke-giri (is a type of Iranian folk performing art that features a mischievous and forthright harlequin that does improvisations to stir laughter).
The play script is also based on the storytelling fundamentals of “Scheherazade and the 1001 Nights” ( a collection of Middle Eastern legendary tales). Its combination with live music and the techniques and tunes of contemporary theater adds to its humor.
“Mono Talkhak” (The clown and I) is a story about a Clown who is wandering around with the last king of the world, and tries to make a living and afford the king's dialysis by performing shows. As the Clown says, the last king of the world is now aged and vincible, and his skin can not be exposed to the sun. Therefore he sits on a wheelchair and is covered by a sheet to be protected from the light, so that the audience would not see him at all.
The Clown decides to narrate his life story for the king -indeed for the audience- in order to soothe him. During the performance he reveals and depicts his weird life story and his ups and downs. Through this narration with allusions to the politics and politicians , the audience would get surprised again and again until he leaves the stage( and never comes back!) , the audience would leave the space after learning he stole their money and was fake like the chaffy king under the cover.
The Clown decides to narrate his life story for the king -actually the audience- in order to soothe him. Through this narration, he reveals and depicts his weird life story and his ups and downs. The Clown has always dreamt of being a king since his childhood. All of his ancestors were clowns. He also had to become one. But he falls in love with the daughter of the king's physicist. Since he is only a clown, the girl marries the king's son. Therefore he determines to quit being a clown and become a king, so that he can take his revenge from the world and marry the girl.
He neither has money nor authority. Thus he decides to learn illusionism in order to change his destiny, from a poor clown to a noble king. He travels around the world and studies with the masterminds of illusionism. But every time, he fluffs and they throw him out. And he goes back to square one. Each king takes him as his own possession after each conquest, and this story goes on and on.
Many years later, in a king's court in far east , he encounters an alchemy mastermind, hoping to learn the knowledge of transmutation and become a prosperous king, he becomes his follower. One night, the master assumes he has found the elixir of life and he drinks it up and suddenly passes away. The clown, being sick and tired of his tedious clownish life, decides to put and end to it by drinking the poison. To enrich the poison, he adds up the king's urine.
To his amazement, he finds out, this combination is the actual elixir of life. So the clown becomes eternal. At first he thinks he can earn a living by selling the elixir and change his life, but no one believes him. In addition, he has grown a tail on his back as a side effect of the medicine, so everyone teases him. The clown decides to depart the city, hoping that he would fall down and die, he hides in a water well.
After several months, the caravan of Egypt's Aziz (king) passes by and takes him out of the well. The Mesopotamian girl, his long time love of life, is now the Aziz's queen. The clown gives the elixir to the the girl in order to leave him alone.
They capture the clown and once again, he becomes the clown of the court. He passes various eras, but can not ever express his feeling to the girl, whom is now eternal as well, for he is a miserable clown and she is a queen.
The clown explains his story, up to now. And the audience figure out that this play is prepared and performed by him in order to make some money for the king's costs.
A king who is the last king of the world, but no one knows how miserable he really is. At the end, the clown who has seen his love on the backstage of the same theater hall, decides to make a deal with the audience.
To sell what is left of the elixir of life. In return, he would remove the sheet off the king's face so that he dies and the clown takes his place, and makes a promise to the audience, not to hurt them like all the other kings. And to propose to his love, the eternal Mesopotamian girl. Therefore he performs an auction to sell the elixir.
As soon as the elixir is sold, the clown removes the sheet off the king, and there is nothing but a pile of straw. When the play is through, the actor doesn't return for reverence and the audience see him proposing to the Mesopotamian girl in the hallway outside.