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The Manual




Photos by: Mani Lotfizadeh


In "The Manual," alternatively titled "The Correct Way to Use the Machine," a performer finds themselves confined within a vending machine, symbolizing a product available for purchase by the audience. The spectators wield control over various aspects of the performance, such as the music, scene, language, and lighting, effectively assuming roles akin to directors or dictators. While the original setup features 15 surveillance cameras to monitor the proceedings and ensure security, their presence is optional.

This site-specific performance delves into the utilization of social mechanisms like violence, surveillance, and a sense of authority within totalitarian regimes through a blend of performative elements and tension. It also scrutinizes the audience's capacity to make choices and take action, even when confronted with dominant powers and established authority structures. Drawing inspiration from Shakespeare's "Hamlet," the play's script transposes the narrative to Iran, examining the intricate dynamics between governmental authority and the populace.

"The Manual" bridges two disparate contexts – Iran from 2010 to 2018 and Denmark in 1599 – prompting global contemplation on the plight of the performer ensnared within the vending machine. It seamlessly merges technology with theatrical expression, revitalizing timeless narratives to address contemporary socio-political concerns through processes of subtraction, displacement, emphasis, and substitution.




-First performed on July 8, 2012

-“Shahr Theater”, Tehran, Iran  

It-Also performed at “Tehran East Gallery”, Tehran, Iran

It-Also shown as a video presentation at Carnegie Mello University, Pittsburgh, USA


Performed 40 times in 2012


(Performers) Alireza Keymanesh, Ehsan Badakhshan, Mahdi Salamani, Mahdi Shahedi, Amir Ebadi asl, Mahan Hirbod, Mahdi Gharachedaghi, Aliasghar Kouzegar, Maryam Gorji, Delaram Hashemi ; (Music) Bamdad Afshar ; (Photography) Mani Lotfizadeh; (Video) Amin Kaffashzadeh; (Light Design) Aliasghar Kouzegar; (Graphic design) Pejman Takdehghan; (Production Manager) Mohammad Safarpour.


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