Reza Abdoh, Theatre Visionary

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Adam Soch | United States | 2015 | 1:44:00

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Reza Abdoh (1963-1995) was an Iranian-born American theatre director and playwright known for his groundbreaking, experimental productions. Abdoh died of AIDS in 1995 at the age of 32 having created an impressive body of stage spectacles known for their sensory overload, ferocious energy and hallucinatory dreamscapes. Abdoh was an enigmatic and prolific creative force and with his company, Dar A Luz, formed in 1991, he created productions that have made a major impact on experimental theatre worldwide and whose influences are still being felt and talked of to this day.

The Los Angeles Times called his work “Puzzling, fragmented, hard-edged and brilliant as a diamond.” the Village Voice called it “Astonishing.” Prominent theatre artists were also fervent admirers; Richard Foreman, for example, has said, ‘The aesthetic shock of encountering Abdoh’s turbulent work sent me reeling.’

Abdoh’s productions were rule-breaking, game-changing, irreverent, explosive and razor sharp expressions; their poetic in-breathing and out-breathing rhythm, full of raw and nightmarish imagery were hell-bent on exposing hypocrisy and injustice in a frenetic, disarming collaging of sound, video, dance and words at breakneck speed and volume to create extreme theatrical visions yielding ultimate impact. His company was made up of the most generous, fierce and fearless performers one could ever hope to see; his productions the most confronting and perception-altering of their generation.

Reza Abdoh; Theatre Visionary, directed by Adam Soch, Abdoh’s long-time collaborator and video archivist, is an intimate portrait of the world and work of Abdoh and his company. It features excerpts from Abdoh’s most important productions alongside interviews with Abdoh himself, his collaborators, critics, friends and family. These elements combine to illuminate his legacy; his groundbreaking work and his visionary, theatrical genius.

If you don’t know anything about Reza Abdoh and his productions, that’s good. We have made this film with you in mind.

‘It is time; the world needs to know what Abdoh made possible!’

Cast
Peter Sellars
David Schweizer

Producer
Adam Soch