PREVIEW: Heart, Arts Centre Washington

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AN explosive mixture of political thriller and passionate love story, theatre company Zendeh’s new production Heart comes to Arts Centre Washington next week.

Inspired by the tragic love poem Leili and Majnoun by Nezami, Heart is set in 1953 and takes place between Durham and Tehran. It exposes love and betrayal both in a personal and international level.

The story follows Leili, a young Iranian woman and poet. Kais is her first love, also a poet but from Syria. Their relationship is severed.

In England, Leili marries Arthur, a journalist. One day in 1953, Leili and Kais’s eyes meet again.

Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh, Zendeh’s artistic director said: “Through a feminist lens, I’m attracted to exploring the nature of forbidden touch. Love triangles transcend culture and class, at one time or another each of us plays our part.” Heart takes place against the backdrop of the 28 Mordad coup d’etat, which happened over four days in Tehran in August 1953.

It is through the intense interplay of personal possession and political betrayal that Heart brings these events to a modern audience, who are still confronting questions of Britain’s role in the Middle East.

Nazli said “It is exactly 60 years since 28 Mordad, but the events continue to resonate loudly and the fault-lines created by those events continue to destabilise Iran.

“I am fascinated by how theatre can capture the intensity of the four days, the interplay of personal possession and political betrayal and how we can bring this important story to a new audience”

l Heart will be performed at 7.30pm on Thursday. Tickets are £8.50 from Tel. 219 3455.