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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 "Mono Talkhak" (The Clown and I) draws heavily from the rich traditions of Iranian theater, blending elements of Naqqali (storytelling), Siahbazi, and Ma’reke-giri (a mischievous folk performing art) to create an experiential journey filled with humor and depth.

Rooted in the storytelling fundamentals of "Scheherazade and the 1001 Nights," the play script weaves together legendary tales with contemporary theater techniques and live music, adding layers of humor and intrigue to the narrative.

Set against the backdrop of a world ruled by the last king, whose frailty confines him to a wheelchair and a veil of secrecy, the Clown takes center stage. His mission: to entertain and sustain the king through performances that help fund his medical treatments.

As the Clown regales the audience - and the king - with his life story, filled with twists and turns, the audience is taken on a journey of surprises and revelations. With subtle allusions to politics and politicians, the narrative unfolds with wit and charm, keeping viewers engaged until the very end.

But as the performance reaches its climax, the Clown's true intentions are exposed. In a daring twist, he reveals his deceit and departs from the stage, leaving the audience stunned and questioning the authenticity of their experience. It's a powerful finale that challenges perceptions and leaves a lasting impression, blurring the lines between reality and illusion.

Throughout its 15-night run, "Mono Talkhak" (The Clown and I) offered audiences a dynamic and ever-changing experience with a different ending each night. This innovative approach ensured that no two performances were alike, keeping viewers engaged and intrigued with fresh twists and turns.






The Clown, addressing the audience as the king, begins to narrate his life story in an effort to provide solace. He delves into his peculiar journey, filled with aspirations of royalty stemming from his lineage of clowns. Despite his dreams, he finds himself in unrequited love with the daughter of the king's physicist, who ultimately marries the king's son.

Determined to alter his fate, the Clown embarks on a quest to learn illusionism, hoping to ascend from a lowly clown to a noble king. Yet, each attempt ends in failure, leading to a cycle of disappointment and rejection. Eventually, in a distant kingdom, he encounters an alchemy master and inadvertently discovers the elixir of life, rendering him immortal.

However, his newfound immortality brings little joy as he faces ridicule and disbelief when attempting to share the elixir with others. Additionally, he bears a physical deformity—a tail—as a consequence of the elixir. Desperate to escape his perpetual misery, he seeks refuge in a water well.

Rescued by a passing caravan, he encounters his long-lost love, now a queen. In a final act of desperation, he offers her the elixir to be rid of him. Despite his efforts, he remains trapped in his role as the court clown, unable to express his feelings to the queen due to their disparate stations in life.

The Clown reveals that the play itself is a ploy to raise funds for the king's expenses, highlighting the irony of the king's hidden suffering. As the performance draws to a close, the Clown makes a dramatic proposal to the audience: he will sell the remaining elixir of life in exchange for the opportunity to take the king's place and marry his eternal love.

In a climactic moment, the Clown unveils the king's true form—a mere pile of straw—signifying the end of his reign. With the play concluded, the actor departs from the stage without the customary bow, leaving the audience to witness his proposal to the Mesopotamian girl in the hallway outside.

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