Iranscape: Santiago and George

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Life experience in Iran has its unique aspects which may not be immediately apparent until they are lived and viewed by those outside it. It is only then that one can discover the liveliness in living in this country. Iranscape takes an effort in filling this unknown gap by depicting the daily lives of a group of foreigners living in Iran for different purposes. In this episode we will meet two of them, Santiago and George. Santiago, a literature enthusiast, comes from Spain and is currently living in Tehran to learn about the Iranian art and literature. He seeks a mixture of these two on the Iranian theater stages. Geroge, on the other hand, is running his business in Tehran and is trying very hard to master the Persian language. They are both improving their Persians in the Dehkhoda Institute. In these series of Iranscape by Press TV, you will meet people from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds living together and with Iranians in perfect harmony. Each episode recounts the life story of two of these people.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

SOUNDBITE [English] George Dacono, Foreign Student: “My name is George Dacono and I come from Romania and I’m 35 years old. I’m here in Iran because I work for Nepton Company and I am also studying in Dehkhoda institute to improve my Farsi.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Teacher: “When you speak quietly. So, whispering means to speak quietly. Do you know what the word” Korsi” means? Korsi was a small table used in the old times with a blanket thrown over it and a brazier under it.It was used to produce heat for the cold climates of Iran. People got warm using Korsi. It is no more used nowadays. Maybe Iran’s northwestern villages around Azarbaijan Province still use it.”

Conversation [Persian] George Dacono & Another Student: “- Do you live on your own or with your family?

- During my childhood, I lived with my family but since I turned 18, I have been living alone.

- I have only one sister. And she has one child. I love them very much. I am living alone.

- You have been living alone since you were 14.

- Sometimes it is good to live alone, and sometimes it is not.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Santiago, Foreign Student: “I am Santiago. I am 26 years old. I studied comparative literature and literature theory and also I have studied drama. So I wanted to come to Iran to do my master next year. So that is the reason why I am learning Farsi this year and next year I will start my master.”

Conversation [Persian] Santiago & Unknown man: “- In the next week or the week after?

- In the next two weeks. So you are a foreigner.

- No man, I’m from Tehran. What do you do?

- My work is theatre.

- Seriously?

- Yes.

- So am I.

- Really? Here in Iran?

- No, in Spain.

- This place is called the City Theatre. Stage acting in Iran dates back to centuries ago-when it was performed during ceremonies.

- Now you can see it in the regular Iranian theaters?

- It is also performed …

- Or only at festivals?

- It is also performed, but less often. Do you have such a thing as ceremonial theatre in Spain?

- Yes, such form of theatre emerged in Spain in the 17th century at the time of Cervantes.

- What brought you in Iran?

I came to Iran to major in Persian Language and Literature. This year, I’m working on the Dehkhoda Dictionary. I also applied for a scholarship at Allameh Tabataba’I University.

- You are going to study in AllamehTabataba’i?

- Yes.

- What major?

- Persian Literature.

- My crew will participate in Iran’s Fajr Festival and currently we are rehearsing for it. For the Fajr Festival.”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

Conversation [Persian] Santiago & Unknown man:-Fajr Festival?

- It is an international festival with participants from all over the world and from Iran.

- What about Spanish crews?

- Yes, there are people from Spain. Would you like to see the Festival?

- Is it an important event?

- Yes it is. It is worth seeing.

- Wouldn’t it be any trouble for you?

- No, no.

- Thank you.

- We have been rehearsing for 4 months now.

- Four months?

- About four months. You watch the rehearsal. I have something to do. I will call you as soon as I finish.

- Ok, thanks.

- It was nice to meet you.

- Thank you.”

SOUNDBITE [English] George Dacono, Foreign Student: “So of course my job is like I can say an official job, a very serious job. But here I found very very lovely hobby that is studying Farsi and reading Farsi literature, Iranian literature. Yeah, my third one is Attar and his book in English I think is “the Conference of the Birds” in Farsi I think it is “Mantegholteyr”. I really like this book because of the special mysticism it has.”

Conversation [English] George Dacono & A man on the phone: “- I didn’t find this email from your landlord regarding this inquiry.

- Yeah I think I‘ll try to find it and send it for you.

- let me check first and I will contact you because I’m sure I can find it in my mailbox. Thank you so much.

- Ok.”

Conversation [Persian] Santiago & Unknown man: “-Shima, let’s perform that one. This same item.

- Really?

- Yeah. Couldn’t you take that from the guy?

- Hello, how are you?

- I’m fine. Thank you.

- We met each other at the City Theatre. He is also in theatre job in Spain.

- Oh, really?

- I thought it would be interesting for him to come here and see you and talk to you.

- Our crew is called Don Quixote.

- Is it Don Quixote?

- Yes.

- Seriously? Yes. As you know, Don Quixote is from Spain.

- Really?

- Yes.

- We performed Don Quixote in Spain; in Madrid and Barcelona. Would you like to join the rehearsal? So let’s do it.

- One, two, three, four. Very good. Can I see you?”

SOUNDBITE [English] Santiago, Foreign Student: “I went to a rehearsal and we exchanged like theatre opinions of performances. I mean I taught them a little bit of Spanish performance and they taught me how to do performances from India and it was really nice. Actually I am going to take lessons about Indian performances and also I want to know about the Iranian performance.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Unknown Woman, Actress: you start from the eyes and neck and then neck comes in and then legs and then the whole body get involved.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

Conversation [English & Persian] Santiago & Another Actor: “- I want to learn it.

- He cannot learn more in one session.

- He wants to learn later.

- Does he?

- So where did you get it?

- I learned it in India.

- Did you go there to learn?

- Yes. I’ve been there for six years.

- Oh, that is really nice.

- Your literature is really interesting. I’m reading one of Sohrab Sepehri’s books. Are you into the Spanish cinema?

- I know Inarritu.

-Innarrituis Mexican. Almadovar is Spanish.

- Victor Elias.

- You know Victor Elias? Really? Wow! Since 13th or 18th century after Goja.

- Ah, Goya! We say Goya.

- Do you know him? I’m glad that you know Spanish culture well.

- Did you teach better or learn better?

- In Spain?

- Here.

- I learned better.

- There are Iranian directors who perform stage plays in European countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland and Spain. Are you here to learn about Iran’s theatre or to work with Iranian theatre groups?

- I want to learn about the Iranian theatre. I need to improve my Persian, though… I don’t know, maybe I will work here.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Santiago, Foreign Student: “Especially this thing that in here because Iran is like in the Middle of Asia and Europe. In Dehkhoda the interesting point is that there are a lot of people from far East Asia and European countries, this is very interesting for me because in Europe we normally are very similar to each other, but for example for me studying with Iraqi people o Malaysian people or Chinese people is very interesting.”

Conversation [Persian] Teacher & Students: -Cheese, butter and honey for breakfast.

- Hi, dad!

- Hi, how are you?

- I’m fine. When will you come back?

- Tomorrow 9 o’clock …Clean the house.

- I cleaned the house yesterday.

- Good job. So come get me at the airplane.

- What airplane? You should say airport.

- Oops, Excuse me.

- Ok, I will come with my friend.

- Thank you, any questions about the dialog? So every thing’s clear. Let’s go to the next dialog.

- Excuse me, what does “get me at the airport” mean?

- It means” come to the airport and take me home, or come with your car and take me home.””

Conversation [Persian & Spanish] Santiago & Another man: “-To annoy, to have an appetite, to choose, to criticize, to pick someone, to get acquainted. And it was the master of ceremonies, yes, yes. And it was pretty well. Ok.ok. bye bye.

- You can speak Spanish?

- No man, I am Spanish.

- So you come from Spain?

- Yes.

- Really? So you can speak Spanish, right?

- Yes, because I am Spanish.

- How are you?”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

Conversation [Persian & Spanish] Santiago & Another man: “- Very well. You know it too?

- Yes, because in lived in Venezuela and they speak Spanish too. That’s too good. How many years would you like to live in Iran?

- Pardon?

- How many years would you like to stay in Iran?

- Well, I would like to speak Farsi in this First year …

- But you speak Farsi very well!

- No, no!

- What percentage do you speak?

- What percentage? I don’t know; 10 percent?

- I live here, in Iran.

- Here? So, your name is Fernando but you are from Iran?

- Yes, because I lived in Venezuela for five years. This is my Venezuelan name.

- Ah, ok ok.

- Yes, I used Fernando for my Venezuelan name. And here for my Iranian name, Saeed.

- Saeed?

- Here, I have a job at AllamehTabataba’i University.

- You?

- Yes.

- Really?

- Yes, at AllamehTabataba’I University. Professor of philosophy.

- Professor of philosophy? So, you are a professor of philosophy?

- Yes, professor of Islamic philosophy. I teach about MollaSadra, Sheikh Eshragh, Avicenna. So two months ago I went to Italy.

- Who?

- Me, for two months I left Iran and went to Italy.

- Nice. To teach in an Italian University?

- Yes. In the University of Philosophy. In Venice. Venice is very nice.

- Right! I’m an actor and last year I went to Italy to do a show with my theatre company. We were invited to a theatre festival.

- So, you have been in Italy.

- Sorry?

- Have you been to Italy?

- Yes, last year, for this theatre festival I’m telling you about. We went to Florence.

- Do you like Iran?

- Yes.

- Is Iran beautiful?

- Yes. I came here also four years ago in order to start studying Farsi and I went to Mashhad, Hamedan.

- Isfahan?

- No.

- Shiraz?

- No, not there. Because I’m studying in this DehkhodaInstitute.

- Dehkhoda is great.

- Yes, but we have to struggle so much with our studies that we don’t have any time to travel. But now that I’m going to be here for nine more months I want to go to Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Qom … May I ask you for a favor?

- Yes, of course.

- If you have studied philosophy you are able to answer.

- Yes, sure my friend. At your service.

- So, I was trying to read a poem by Sepehri…

- This is Sohrab Sepehri.

- Yes, and there are some words I don’t understand.

- “The friend’s house; where is it?”

- Yes, “Where is the friend’s house?””

SOUNDBITE [English] George Dacono, Foreign Student: In my normal days in Tehran I go very early in the morning to my work and I do so many things there and then I go to Dehkhoda, this institute of Farsi and I start a three hour class in there and then I go back to my job and finish my day there.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] George Dacono & Voice of Woman: “- Lesson one. Page 14. Student life.

- My name is Sarah. I’m 22 years old. I live in Tehran.

- I live in Tehran.

- I live in Tehran.”

SOUNDBITE [English] George Dacono, Foreign Student: Goals or objectives, maybe my wishes for Farsi. I’m not totally sure about them but I can say that I would like to speak Farsi very fluently to go to know this culture better. Also to establish better relationships with the people I use to meet in my job. I think it is important because it is a sign of respect. I mean if you are working in some country I think you should learn the language of the country you are living in.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

Conversation [Persian] Santiago & Other Students: “- So, you have read the English translation of Khayyam’s quatrains by Edward FitzGerald.

- Yes, Yes.

- Have you read the Persian version of Khayyam’s poems, or their Spanish translations?

- From a bilingual book.

- A bilingual book. A bilingual book is written in two languages. Today, there are many such books in Iran as well as other countries. For example there are bilingual books written in both Persian and Spanish. Is the Spanish translator of Khayyam’s poems a famous person?

- Yes, but people in Spain do not read Persian poems.

- The Spanish do not read Persian poems.

- That is true unfortunately.

- But, FitzGerald’s translation is unique.

- When FitzGerald translated Khayyam’s book, it became the bestselling book in England.

- It was not well-known for a few years however. It gradually gained popularity. Have you studied the contemporary Persian literature in Spain besides the classical one?

- Yes.

- Do you know Sohrab Sepehri?

- I will start reading one of his books today. I mean, I started reading his book.

- Is it also a bilingual book?

- Yes.

- Great, what about you? Do you know SohrabSepehri?

- I have heard his name, but I have not read his poems.

- Can you tell Mr. Fitzroid about SohrabSepehri?

- I know that he was an artist, a painter and his poems were full of his paintings.

- Mr. Adam, What are your questions to Mr. Fitzroid and Mr. Santiago?

- Do you like Polish literature?

- Do you know anything about Polish literature?

- Yes.

- Tell us what you know.

- I read a Polish book yesterday.

- Really?

- And I know the Polish poet Szymborska.

- Wislawa Szymborska is a famous poet, Fortunately Szymborska and Kapuscinski are both known inIran; not very well-known, but their books are translated to Persian.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Santiago, Foreign Student: My experience in Iran is that the word I should tell about the Iranian people is hospitality, because the hospitality of people in Iran is wonderful. I mean you go to some place and all the people invite you to everything. I think I had a very good idea from Iran because I have some Iranian friends in Spain but I think it is going to be more interesting for you to know that for example my parents were really afraid that I came here because in Europe it is said that Iran is a very dangerous country. A lot of friends ask me why I wanted to come to Iran and I say well I wanted to Iran because it has an ancient culture and the people there are great.” 


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