Haram Iran playing at the Atheneaum Theatre UPDATE: 02/14/2010

Haram Iran moves to Los Angeles, taking the stage at Celebration Theatre from March 5th to April 4th.

The show is directed by Michael Matthews and produced by Jeremy O'Keefe & Christopher Sepulveda. Check back soon for an updated cast and crew list or visit their website at www.celebrationtheatre.com.

Tickets are General Admission and you can purchase yours for $25 each. Click here to Purchase Tickets.

Chicago – Haram Iran, written by Jay Paul Deratany and Directed by David Zak, is based on the true story about the trial of two Iranian teenagers in Mashad, Iran in 2005.

Haram Iran tells the story of two boys coming of age, and struggling with their identities as Arab Iranians, and as typical teenagers longing to discover their place in the world. Ayaz Marhouni and Mahmoud Asgari, two fifteen year old boys who may have been gay or may have been experimenting with their sexuality-- like many teenagers do, however, they get caught in a compromised position, publicly humiliated and tried in the Iranian legal system. The story follows the boys' passions--one for literature and the other for sports--and both for each other. The play takes the audience into the complexity of their relationship, and then the horrifying ordeal of being tried by an unforgiving Iranian legal system which misinterprets the Muslim law of Sharia.

The dates, names and many of the facts are true, however the trial scenes and much of the side story of the boys is fictional since it is not known exactly what occurred during the trial. What is known is that they were adolescents, who were tried and sentenced for the "sin" of homosexuality. Then, after the international press became outraged. the judge increased the charges to “rape of a younger man.”

In Iran thousands of people, including children, are jailed or killed each year, some because they are women who have had pre-maritial sex, and others because they are considered to be homosexual.

Haram Iran involves some nudity, and violence, and a criticism of Iranian politics and their very flawed legal system. This play does not, however critique or criticize Muslims, or the Muslim faith, which is a loving and peaceful religion. In fact, to the contrary, the writer draws the distinction between a loving faith and some of its misguided extremist followers.

Producer/Writer Jay Paul Deratany has said "this play is about exposing the human rights violations being committed on a daily basis, therefore I will be donating a significant portion of the of the profits from this play to Amnesty International for the aid and assistance to Iranians who suffer from torture and injustice." So when you buy your ticket, remember that some of your ticket price will go to help those who are in desperate need of our care and love.

Below are some links to articles which will help the reader understand the tragedy that befell Ayaz and Mahmoud...may they not have died in vain.

Washington PostBBCUKGayNews.Org.UkDirelandPageOneQGay.com

UPDATE: 01/28/2010

J.D. Salinger, the elusive and enigmatic author of "The Catcher in the Rye," has died. He was 91 and lived in Cornish, N.H.

Mr. Salingerís literary representative, Harold Ober Associates, announced the death, saying it was of natural causes.

Published in 1951, "The Catcher in the Rye" became Mr. Salingerís most famous work with its distinctive depiction of its angry, iconoclastic teenage protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Mr. Salinger frequently dealt with the subject of precocious youth... < Read More >

As you may have known, the character Holden Caulfield is cited many times in Haram Iran, and the classic novel "The Catcher in the Rye" plays an important role in the show as a literary reference. On behalf of the cast and crew, we send our deepest sympathies to the Salinger family through this difficult time.