The kingdom of fire and clay - iran vs israel... a reflection by ugne mikalajunaite d.d. 08.02.2014

The Kingdom of Fire and Clay (or a great way to end a week!)
by Ugne Mikalajunaite (seen 7 February 2014)

I just came back from an amazing performance and as I have difficulties fully expressing myself vocally, I have to do it like this – in a written form. I just must!  

Let’s begin with the context or the amazing thing that is storytelling, and music, and theatre! I have just returned from a performance called “The Kingdom of Fire and Clay (Iran vs. Israel)”. It was a play carried out by two men – Raphael Rodan from Israel and Sahand Sahebdivani from Iran (a.ka. Persia – it sounds much nicer to my ear). The whole performance was one long dialogue full of personal stories and folklore tales from both countries. There was also the whole range of emotions – from the happiness and comparison of similarities between the cultures to the fighting, because of the taboo topics, like war and occupation. It was truly sensuous and done very enchantingly. The audience was definitely active and responsive too. It felt as if we were a part of the dialogue!

I also feel that I learned quite a lot about the Israeli and Persian cultures this evening. Not only through the traditional tales and lullabies, but also through the stories about the war time difficulties, about the performers’ childhoods and families. Overall, it definitely was one of the best performances I have seen in a long time!

Additionally, I must make a shout out for the musicians (Anastasis Sarakatsanos and Bas Kisjes! One of the guys (A. Sarakatsanos) played a traditional Persian instrument that had way too many strings to counts. It looked similar to the Lithuanian kanklės, but with 100 times more strings, so no way I would be able to play that! Anyhow, I loved the music! I have always been a fan of the Middle Eastern music, thus I enjoyed it thoroughly!

Branoul oudAnd, of course, the location! The performance was held in a very cosy and lovely Branoul theatre, Den Haag. I would call the place a hidden gem of the city, and mind the word hidden! It was rather tricky to find it, but the theatre itself and especially the surroundings were gorgeous! Very Dutch and very old, so right up my alley! 

So, yes, I had a great evening with great people, both the audience and the colleagues from the organization I just started volunteering at – STET The English Theatre! I would highly recommend everyone that lives around The Hague or Randstad to check out their upcoming productions! So worth it!  

To follow Ugne´s wonderful blog and her reflections on her life in The Hague, see