Commissioned by Luminato International Festival for Arts and Creativity this collaborative creation headed by Batdorf was inspired by Tahirih. In 1848, at a religious conference in what is now Iran, the poet and teacher known as Táhirih, or “The Pure One” dared to appear in public without a veil. She was arrested and subsequently put to death.

Táhirih’s mystical poetry and this notorious historical event provide the inspiration for a richly textured theatrical tapestry commissioned by Luminato. Weaving dance, poetry, Iranian, First Nation and African American song, silk work and lamentation into an intense theatrical exploration, a culturally diverse group of international creators - led by renowned director, performer, playwright and teacher Erika Batdorf - challenge all of us to find our own authentic voice and the courage to speak.


Review- Mira Saraf, Mooney on Theatre

The cast members speak and communicate with each other through dialogue, song and movement. If you know any Farsi, and can understand the original poetry your understanding of the piece will be even deeper.

After it was over Elizabeth and I just looked at each other in awe. We knew we were overwhelmed and we knew we had seen something truly profound, but we couldn’t quite articulate it in words. Later on we would agree that dialogue would fail to achieve the depth of what the medley of dance, poetry and music gave us.

When they announced the talkback session, we stayed, as we felt that the opportunity to understand the director’s intentions would enhance the experience so much further. They described the creative process behind the play as more of experimentation in prayer and sharing their love of faith rather than a formal scripted show. It gave us an insight into the individual journeys of the director as well as each of the cast members. The actors hailed from all different faiths and ethnic backgrounds, all incredibly talented vocally, and physically.

A true message that this show hopes to deliver is to take away the taboo associating with mixing faith with art. One thing I definitely took away from it is that perhaps we are taking the wrong approach to solving religious disputes. Perhaps it is through the arts, not through politics that we can gain understanding of each other’s Gods and move towards acceptance.