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March 16, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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people00ii!:: Performer Creates Gateway for Youth Ardavan Mofid reveals 2500 years of literature through storytelling. by Shirin Danielpour The renowned Iranian performer, Ardavan Mofid, shares his experiences as an actor during the Pahlavi regime and how his life and the life of the performing arts shiftel in the United States. Mofid was born in Tehran. lran. He attended Florida State University and received his Masters in Theater in 1975. Upon gradu- ating, he returned to lran to join his fam- ily of theatrical performers. Mofid, like many other Iranians, fled the country in 1979 during the time of the Iranian revo- lution. As a multitalented performer, Mofid has not only been seen on television and film, but he also plays the setar (3-string guitar), guitar, piano and drums. He is most widely acknowledged today for his performances as a one-man show. Mofid ingenuously performs for the preserva- tion of the Iranian culture. He performs frequently without pay, but simply for the purpose of unveiling the wealth behind his culture. Q: Did you have freedom of expression as an actor in IranL A: During the Pahlavi regime, theater freedom of expression was accepted. I could express myself in any way. Here you can be tree. but' you don't have the same possi- bilities. In h'an we had enough back up and the possibilities were enormous. They facilitat- ed the process so artists could broaden their talents and per- form in various cities. The Pearl Majesties pro'cider a mobile theater for us to travel t'o different cities. We were able to perform the same play in all the cities forming arts at the same time that Western Theater was established. Q: Arc actors perceived in the same light in Iran as in America? A: America has talent, but the best here cannot even see a glimpse of Iranian actors because of the wealth of literature we have. Here is just surface; there is no depth. Actors in lran have depth and you can see it. Unfortunately, today's regime is so tight that they won't allow talents to evolve. They can limit performing arts, but they can't kill the talent. Q: How did you begin performing in Los Angeles? A: I am one of the founders of the first plays, radio and television programs. As a one-man show, 1 perform "The Book of Kings", which goes back 11(90 years. I am   My responsibility is to bring the story to you in order to make you realize this is our wealth. I want to establish the notion and movement of getting back to our culture, our treasure. : !; in Iran. Q: Do you come from a theatrical fam- ily? A: My father was the pioneer for The Modem Theater in Iran. My eldest broth- er, Bijan Mofid, is one of the best play writes. The "City of Tales" was my first professional acting experience on stage when I was 19 years old. I can consider myself as a fourth generation theatrical family that started studying Persian per- the last in the chain of storytellers. Right now I am focused on keeping Persians in touch with their culture, and keeping society attached to their culture so they know they have the opportunity of pre- serving their culture within this melting pot. This Christmas, Santa Claus and Uncle New Year (who represents the equivalent of Santa Claus for Iranians) met to teach children the), are one entity' passing the torch from Winter Santa to the Spring Uncle New Year. This is based on the roots of Persian Zoroastrians who believe we must celebrate ever,, opportunity. 1 bring to life to these children 2500 years of life. I bring their background to them from the prospective of an Iranian. an American and a refugee. I explain the New Year and the coming of Spring. Q: The Iranian community seems to be entering the Hollywood scene rather than theater. What do you attribute this to'? A: In order to do a play it needs to have energy and meaning and we don't have many good play writes. Theater has more depth and we don't have that in the new generation yet. Film is more tech- nique than depth that this generation con- nects to. In both cases we need writers. We need them to go back to their roots to learn the literature. I could have entered the big screen, but I want didn't just want to act. I want to teach the wealth of the culture. My responsibility is to bring the story to you in order to make you realize this is our wealth. I want to establish the notion and movement of getting back to our culture, our treasure. I have the key, let me open it up. With the same token we have to appreciate various cultural centers. Q: Do you see a bright future for Iranian-Americans in this field? A: Definitely. My feeling is that this new generation is exotic. They are attrac- tive. They have genuine feelings starting with television and film, and ultimately in theater. There is so much talent. The only thing that is lacking is that they don't know' what they're missing by ignoring their dccp litcrature and culture.  ,ye , ., rs.. business cards.. ]e erhead .. advertisements., magazine ut ii e ................... i 8 Beverly Hills Weekly 213.447.1311 or email: silverline@mediaone.net ...... i .... i , i i , i i I i web design..