Project 6060 – Lesson 60
An Eye for an Eye
A play is one of the forms of literary writing and a text that has been written to be performed in a theatre is usually called a play. The format of a play is usually conversations between the show’s characters. In a play, the manner and appearance of the actors is also mentioned and information like the location and time of each event or each scene of the play is also given to the reader so that they can get a better picture of it in their own minds. Although plays have been common in Iran for many years, playwriting in its modern form does not have a long history in Iran. Perhaps it could be said that playwriting in Iran began with the Turkish plays of ‘Mirza Fathali Akhundzadeh’ and later, it could be said that the Persian plays of ‘Mirza Aqa Tabrizi’ and the translation of European plays into Persian, prepared the ground for its presence in Persian literature. One of Iran’s best playwrights was ‘Gholam Hossein Saedi’ who was born in Tabriz in the year 1936 and passed away in Paris at the age of fifty. Many of Saedi’s plays, film scripts, novels and collections of stories have survived Saedi.
One of his plays that has been performed several times is the play ‘An Eye for an Eye’, in which the tyranny of rulers is depicted. As you continue, you will read a section of this play.
(A large couch with a grand back, behind which is an unseen bed for resting on. When the curtain opens, nobody is on the stage. A few moments later, the sounds of a long yawn and, following that, the fat figure of the king, who has woken up slowly. He is sitting on the bed. A yawn again; he rubs his eyes and throws himself on the couch; he tests the accessories and objects that he has tied to himself; glances at his surroundings; thinks; a few moments pass in this way.)
King: I would like to know; did you wake me up?
King: Yeah, you.
Executioner: Certainly not your honour; you woke me up.
King: So who woke me up?
Executioner: I have no idea your honour; your humble servant was asleep.
King: It has been a good few days now that in the late afternoon I have awoken like this for no reason. Why must it be like this? Why must our afternoon sleep be disturbed?
Executioner: Perhaps you are eating too much, your honour
King: Am I eating too much or are you? (He moves threateningly towards the executioner.)
Executioner: Well it’s obvious; of course it’s me, your humble servant..
King: So how come I’m not sleeping well?
Executioner: There are lots of possible reasons, your honour.
King: Such as?
Executioner: Such as… Such as maybe your conscience is disturbed.
King: What? My conscience might be disturbed? How could it be possible?
Executioner: It’s not possible, your honour, it’s just probable.
King: What’s probable?
Executioner: A disturbed conscience!
King: Due to what?
Executioner: There are lots of possible causes, your honour. But in the opinion of your humble servant, our work has been sluggish for a while and justice has not been served for three or four days.
King: Where did you get your information?
Executioner: Where does my information come from? Is not your humble servant the agent and enforcer of justice? At the end of the day, the account is in my hands, your honour.
King: You’re not mistaken?
Executioner:No way; no way, your honour. The last eye that we removed was three days ago.
King: So it’s because of this that I have been unable to sleep?
Executioner: It is one hundred percent because of this, your honour. But the cure for all of this is to take out an eye, your honour. Just one eye!
King: An eye for what?
Executioner: It would be in order to serve justice.
King: Now where are we going to take an eye from?
Executioner: They are a plentiful thing; eyes, your honour.
King: Yes, they are plentiful, but how long must we wait until somebody comes with a complaint.
Executioner: Leave it for your humble servant to find and identify and bring them.
King: So what are you waiting for? Instead of this verbosity, set off and get to work then.
Executioner: Sure, your honour. (Hurriedly he goes to leave the stage when he collides with a young man. The young man wails loudly and covers his face with his two hands.)
Executioner (shouting): Your honour, he came here on his own two feet.
(The executioner drags the young man into the middle of the stage. One eye had come out of its socket… The young man released himself from the grip of the executioner and threw himself at the feet of the ruler.)
Young Man: King, your excellence, I’m at your feet, I’m a wretch! Woe is me! Save me!
King: Get up, let me see, what do you want?
Young man: Retribution, retribution!
King: But what happened? Speak so I can see.
(The young man grasps the robes of the king and shows the empty eye socket.)
Young Man: My eye! My eye!
(He wails loudly.)
King: Your eye? What happened to your eye?
Young Man: It’s come out, your honour! It came out. Give me my retribution.
King: Hey; youngster! Tell me; who did this?
(Wailing, the young man brings out a thin iron rod to show).
Young Man: This did it, your honour; this did it!…
(The executioner and the king come closer and look at the rod. The executioner takes the rod from the young man.)
King: This did it?
Young Man: Yes, your honour…
(The king takes the rod. The executioner and the king both look, surprised, at the rod.)
King: So now what can we do with this?
Young Man: Get me my retribution! I’ve become a wretch. I’ve lost my life.
King: How can I get your retribution from this?
(The king turns to face the executioner.)
King: How is it possible to get retribution from this rod?
Executioner: From this rod, it’s not, your honour. But…
King: But what?
Executioner: But from its owner it is possible.
King: From its owner?
Executioner: Yes, your honour…
King (happy and grinning): Bravo! Clearly your head hasn’t stopped working yet!
Executioner: You’re welcome, your honour.
(The king thinks and looks very seriously at the executioner.)
King: Let me see; what if he, himself, is the owner of the rod?
(He points at the young man)
Executioner: If it’s him, himself?
(The executioner thinks.)
King: Yeah, what can be done then?
Executioner (Jollily): Much better! Much better! If that’s it, then our job is very easy!
King: How is it easy?
Executioner: That one eye that’s still healthy, your honour. Would you look at it? (He runs forward and points to the young man’s healthy eye.)
King: If that’s how it is, then what are you waiting for?…
(The executioner pulls out a dagger and grabs the young man’s hair. The young man hugs the king’s legs.)
Young Man: Your honour! Your honour! I’m not the owner of it!
King: You’re not? So who is it? Then answer me.
Young Man: An old woman, your honour!
King: Ok. Ok! So where is this old woman now?
Young Man: In her house, your honour.
King: And how did she remove your eye?
Young Man: In middle of last night I wanted to go and pay a visit to this old woman’s house and see if I could pinch something. I was just walking around in the dark and feeling the doors and walls when not only did I not find anything, but I also lost an eye. She had smacked a rod into the wall, which went in my eye. Then I ran out. I lost my eye.
Young Man (breathing heavily and emotionally): But I am sad about something else, your honour. I had wished I could lose this worthless eye for your majesty, king. One old beggar woman deprived me of this honour.
King (yelling): Old woman! Old woman!
Oeil pour oeil
Ojo por ojo
Translation of Dialogue
Maryam: What are your plans this weekend?
Bahman: I want to go to the theatre to see a play.
Maryam: Which play?
Bahman: The play, ‘The Killing of Sohrab’.
Maryam: That one that Bizayi has written?
Maryam: I’ve read its script. It’s really interesting.
Bahman: I’ve heard that, in this play of his, he hasn’t used any Arabic words.
Maryam: That’s right. Of course it’s slightly different to Rostam and Sohrab in the Shahname because it’s been re-written for the theatre.
Bahman: Shall I get you a ticket?
Maryam: Yeah, sure. I want to see how they perform it.
Traduction de Dialogue
Traducción de Diálogo