Ta'zieh (Persian:تعزیه) means Condolence Theater and Naqqali are traditional Persian theatrical genres in which the drama is conveyed wholly or predominantly through music and singing. Tazieh dates before the Islamic era and the tragedy of Saiawush in Shahnameh is one of the best examples.
In Persian tradition, Tazieh and Parde-khani, inspired by historical and religious events, symbolize epic spirit and resistance. The common theme is the hero tales of love and sacrifice, and of resistance against the evil.
While in the west the two major genres of dramas have been comedy and tragedy, in Persia (Iran), Tazieh seems to be the dominant genre. Considered as Persian opera, Tazieh resembles the European Opera in many respects.
Persian cinema and Persian symphonic music have been influenced by the long tradition of Tazieh in Iran. Abbas Kiarostami, famous Iranian film maker, made a documentary movie entitled "A Look to Tazieh" in which he explores the relationship of the audience to this theatrical form. Nasser Taghvaee also made a documentary entitled "Tamrin e Akhar" on Tazieh.
Ta'zieh and Shiism
See also: Commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali
The appearance of the characteristic dramatic form of Persia known as the Ta'zieh, in essence an expiation ritual, coincided with the emergence of Shiism.
According to Ibn Kathir, it appeared in the reign of Mu'izz ad-Dawla, the king of Buyid dynasty, in 963. As soon as the Safavid Dynasty was established in Persia in 1501 and the Shiism of the Twelvers adopted as the official sect, the State took interest in theater as a tool of propagating Shiism.
Like Western passion plays, ta'zia dramas were originally performed outdoors at crossroads and other public places where large audiences could gather.
Performances later took place in the courtyards of inns and private homes, but eventually unique structures called takias were constructed for the specific purpose of staging the plays. Community cooperation was encouraged in the building and decoration of the takias, whether the funds for the enterprise were provided by an individual philanthropist or by contributions from the residents of its particular locality.
The takias varied in size, from intimate structures which could only accommodate a few dozen spectators to large buildings capable of holding an audience of more than a thousand people. Often the takias were temporary, having been erected specially for the mourning of Muharram.
All takias, regardless of their size, are constructed as theaters-in-the-round to intensify the dynamic between actors and audience. the spectators are literally surrounded by the action and often become physical participants in the play. In unwalled takias, it is not unusual for combat scenes to occur behind the audience.
Takia-ye Dawlat, the Royal Theater in Tehran, was the most famous of all the ta'zia performance spaces. Built in the 1870s by Naser-al-Din Shah, the Royal
Theater's sumptuous magnificence surpassed that of Europe's greatest opera houses in the opinion of many Western visitors.
This takia was later destroyed by Reza Shah.
Iranian performance of Beethoven's
Iranian Theater Propagates Shiism
"THE PASSION OF HOSAYN"
The passion (ta؟zia) of Husayn ibn 'Ali
Nasser Taghvaee's documentary: Tamrin e Akhar
Abbas Kiarostami on Tazieh
Ta'zieh, the Persian Passion Play