A criticism on "The Last Leaf" puppet show
By: Dr. Andisheh Ghadirian, professor at Mashhad Ferdowsi University
Reaching peace through war and bloodshed
Seemorgh International Group has staged "The Last Leaf" Show in Tehran and Iranian other cities. Just a day after the memorable and obstreperous performance of "All of my Sons" directed by Seyed Hojat Tabatabaie , Mashhad theater saw the performance of "The Last Leaf" that is produced by a group of the world best theater actors/actresses like Douglas Kester, Kelsey Youhara, Jessica Sim and Samiallah Ataie and Iranian well-known director Mohammad Boroumand.
Emphasizing on human being absolute interests and ignoring the war etiology, The Last Leaf puppet drama containing a neo-liberalism viewpoint tries to be the mouthpiece of the peace and friendship.
In his show, Boroumand doesn't intent to know the fights context and find their roots; He condemns the most superficial layer of fight and indentifies human bloody battles with the chases in the animal wild life. So we see that he ignores the network generating new fights which unlike the vertical order of the world classic militaries, are formed of horizontal coalition and eliminates the religious fundamentalism, destructive movements, militia groups organized by charismatic leaders, extremist volunteers and terrorist cells.
Considering Hitler as the symbol of a person who idolizes the power and praises the war is the writer's careful and proper selection. Because the contest between the mouse, the cat and the dog in "The Last Leaf" is a reflection of two principles of " struggle for life" and "the selection of the most suitable" in Nazi doctrine. Nazism is the enemy of Liberalism, the opponent of the individual rights and liberties and the advocate of militarizing the governmental and social system.
Hitler's tendency to spread the automatic technologies appears a dreadful war machine on Boroumand's show stage that is a symbol of industrial and military glory in one the most disciplinarian and developed countries of Europe in threshold of the Second World War. This machine and its aggressive behavior suggest that Nazism is going to create the discipline for destruction and use the order for disorder.
Boroumand's emphasis on halting the destroying function of the automatic war machine is related to human imminent elimination from the power military circle.
Technological evolution process is in a hurry that makes Britain Defense Ministry to compile some policies named "Acceptable Machine Behavior"; since that in many of today modern battles the attack initiative or preemptive defense is the responsibility of the systems that act in the chain of command and control without human intervention.
In Boroumand's drama, Hitler's war machine is also a fearsome dragon that defeats its creator and planner and ejects him from the show scene.
Ghelgheli, that is the representative of this show underage audiences, pulls out the robot CPU and replaces it with an olive branch having received the peace bird.
Through this he changes the military technology that is the forcible symbol of our era to a fair and philanthropist thing.
Through talking with "Boroumand" and his friends before and after the performance I found that the growing prevalence of deplorable phenomenon of "child soldier" has raised serious concerns among world pacifist artists and the attendance of Ghelgheli in this show as the reconciliation ambassador is a step to convey the silent scream of pacifism of children to adults.
In this show, Ghelgheli is the symbol of childish innocence and the representative of the poor children suffered of war that criticizes the abomination and coarseness of violence and war with open eye and ear.
Hitler that is the symbol of the mutation of mankind fierce temper peels through the peaceful mediation of Ghelgheli and his human pure essence is unfold in the face of a beautiful woman that is the symbol of vivification and birth.
Meantime, Ghelgheli's hand of friendship to the robot made by Hitler is a psycho- technical gesture with the concept of reconciliation between ethics and technology. Ghelgheli's reformative act gives this message to the audiences that we must use the industrial and technological tools to increase the psychic efficiencies and promote human being's mental health.
But do indeed the advanced military technologies victimize in human's today war? Our answer to this question is negative.
Dear Mohammad Boroumand knows better than me that since the end of the Second World War until today what has caused the war continuation in the world is not the dark machine intelligence; because the war tools are not independent and their performance is related to human factor that uses it.
Discussing about technological dominance over the fellow, the subjectivity philosophy will be raised and human, as a philosopher having the ability of reflective thinking namely "thinking of self" and "thinking about self thoughts", will be known as the responsible.
Using the "cut-jump" technique is of important notes in Boroumand's directing so that it makes the audience to wind his/her head every ten seconds and gaze on a flat screen having been placed on the left side of the stage to watches some sequences of "Tom & Jerry" animation that is the masterpiece of William Hana and Josef Barbar.
Presenting the eternal sequence of "The Great Dictator" of Charles Spenser Chaplin in the scene related to Hitler's overcoming the world is memorable and gives diversity to the puppetry performance.
Although I deeply respect Boroumand's idea and his human intentions I tell him that as long as we should pass the war and bloodshed to reach the peace, "The Last Leaf" idealistic message won't exceed the border of an exaggerated complacency.
But discussing this bitter truth doesn't mean to neglect the value of Boroumand and Seemorgh International Group's artistic work and to neglect to celebrate his commendable determination for spreading love and friendship all around the world.
Using the puppeteers from countries like United States of America, Canada, Afghanistan and Iran in "The Last Leaf" suggests that it takes collective, worldwide and multilateral will to realize the comprehensive peace in the world.
Inviting to "empathy and unity notwithstanding the multiplicity and plurality" is the hidden message of Seemorgh International Group in this show.
Boroumand and his group remind us that the borders of "human country" is beyond the political and geographical borders and it won't be possible to reach the peak of reconciliation crest and peace phoenix (seemorgh) without the effort of every members of human great society.
A Critisim On The Last Leaf By Dr. Ghadirian
A criticism on "The Last Leaf" puppet show
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