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Chahar Raah

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Chahar Raah : چهارراه (نمایشنامه) : "Crossroads" is a play by the esteemed Iranian playwright and director, Bahram Beizai, written in 2009. It was first staged in March 2018 under Beizai's own direction at Stanford University. This play marks another significant contribution to Beizai's illustrious career, intertwining personal histories with broader social narratives, reflective of his earlier works.

Story Overview:
Set around the year 2001, the play unfolds the reunion of two old friends at a crossroads in Tehran, after fifteen years. Nehal Farrokhi, a teacher who once aspired to be an actress and is now anxiously awaiting a postman to retrieve a letter, and Sarang Sahesh, a homeless man who wished to become a writer and has just been released from prison, uncover secrets about their past. They discover truths about their mutual childhood friend, Charadaran, now Nehal's husband awaiting her abroad, who was a government agent responsible for the misfortunes that befell them. In a tragic turn of events, Sarang is fatally struck by an eighteen-wheeler, while Nehal decides against taking her son, revealed to be Sarang's, abroad.

Textual Context:
"Crossroads" is the last play Beizai wrote while in Iran, in 2009. He elaborated on the play's background in the first performance's program, tracing its origins to his lost two-act play "Ragbar" from the summer of 1963. The text of "Crossroads" was published in winter 2019 by Roshangaran and Women's Studies Publishing, in the desired large format by the author. The book includes the play, information, and photos from its first staging, a synopsis, the script of the first performance, acknowledgments, and a dialogue between Beizai and the audience without naming the questioners and respondent.

First Performance:
The idea of staging "Crossroads" became a serious consideration for Beizai around 2011, but practical challenges, including a shortage of actors, delayed its realization. Rehearsals eventually began in October 2017 with actors from his previous works, "The Report of Ardaviraf" and "Tarab-Nameh," without a specified venue or date for the performance. Rehearsals took place every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm in a room at Stanford University's Cubberley Building. The rehearsal process was documented by Hamid Ehya, detailing Beizai's working method over five sessions. After five months of rehearsals, "Crossroads" was performed from March 23 to 25 and March 29 to April 1, 2018, marking the beginning of spring 1397 in the Persian calendar, at Stanford University's Pigott Theater, directed by the playwright himself.

Beizai dedicated his "share" of this play to the "spirit" of Mohammad Kowsar, who passed away two months and a few days before "Crossroads" opened, highlighting the deep connections and dedications within the Iranian artistic community.