Dr. Naghmeh Samini brings Theater Workshop to the Classroom

Submitted by Rick Aguilar on

Towards the end of Spring Quarter 2023, students and their family members, faculty, and members of the Iranian community came together for a reading of five different plays in Persian. These plays were written by students from Dr. Naghmeh Samini’s creative writing class, Persian 401, and read out by experienced actors. The theme of the play reading was “Identity, Language and Communication” with the plays involving characters who had Persian as their second language.

The play reading began with Arghavan Fakhremoghaddam’s short play in Persian titled Temptation, followed by Caro Reed-Ferrara’s play in Persian and English titled Aboard Voyager 1. Nathan Mark’s play, I was Guided, also used two languages, English and Persian. Anna Learn’s play used Persian and was titled The Accused in the Mirror. The last play was The Stranger by Ilsa Abdul Razzak, and made use of Persian, English, and Urdu. Each play was read out by a combination of actors who had rehearsed each script before the event. To make the script accessible, subtitles in English were provided on the screen for all attendees.

After all the play readings, the students and Dr. Naghmeh came together for a question and answer session. The audience asked stimulating questions, such as where students got their ideas, how they collaborated inside the classroom, and how the process of playwriting was for each one of them. To answer questions from the audience, Dr. Naghmeh and the students spoke about the importance of feedback in creative writing. They also reflected collectively on how helpful it was for the class to meet Iranian playwrights during the quarter, and to read plays in Persian for inspiration. Such a discussion with the audience also prompted students to go down memory lane and reflect on their individual journeys with learning and writing in Persian.