Rosanna Gamson/World Wide's "Layla Means Night" featuring Niloufar Talebi Past

Oct 30 to Nov 3, 2013 ,
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
- SF, CA, United States

Inspired by 1001 Nights, this dazzling dance theater work will transform the entire ODC Theater building for an unforgettable immersive evening. Starring poet/performer Niloufar Talebi, with live musical accompaniment by master Persian musicians Houman Pourmehdi, Pirayeh Pourafar (of the Lian Ensemble) and vocalist Alireza Shahmohammadi, in addition to local artistic collaborators Farima Berenji, Shahrzad Khorsandi, and the ODC Dance Jam.

SF Weekly says of their Pick of the Week, "Haunted-house tours are a Halloween standard, but Rosanna Gamson/World Wide takes the idea of a spooky installation a step further in Layla Means Night, the "séance for 1000 brides" the Los Angeles-based company is staging on all three floors of the ODC Theater. Based on the story of the One Thousand and One Nights, in which a wicked king marries virgin after virgin, beheading each after their first night together, the piece stars Iranian American poet Niloufar Talebi as the wily survivor Scheherazade, who defers death by telling tales. Other Bay Area performers include dancers from the ODC Dance Jam, Farima Berenji, and Sharzhad Khorsandi, and Persian musicians Houman Pourmehdi and Pirayeh Pourafar. Audience members will be led in small groups on different routes through banquets and bedrooms to experience song, dance, food, drink, poetry, music, and theater. Layla Means Night promises a sumptuous experience in memory of a storyteller and a serial killer."

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A native New Yorker, Rosanna Gamson moved to Los Angeles in 1997, founding Rosanna Gamson/World Wide. As Artistic Director, Gamson creates evening-length dance theater works which have included bi-national projects with Mexico City's Contradanza, and with CHOREA Theatre Association in Poland. ROSANNA GAMSON/WORLD WIDE (RGWW) has toured in North America since 2000, presented and commissioned by museums, theaters, festivals and alternative performance spaces including the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT), the Luckman Theater, the Skirball Cultural Center, and Grand Performances in Los Angeles .. among many others.

Niloufar Talebi is a writer/librettist, award-winning translator, and theater artist. She is the editor/translator of BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World (2008); creator/performer of theater and video works, Four Springs (2004), MidnightApproaches (2006), ICAURS/RISE (2007), The Persian Rite of Spring (2010). She is the author of Atash Sorushan (Fire Angels) (2011), a libretto for the 10th anniv. of 9/11 commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Her requiem libretto, Epiphany (2015) will premiere by the Young People's Chorus of NYC. She is currently writing and will narrate Elegies of the Earth (2014), an opera for VIA's FERUS Festival at the Stone Residency in NYC. She has collaborated on and performed several performance art works. The NY Times calls her work, ‘Elegant.’ SF poet laureate, Jack Hirschman said, 'A cultural worker of the highest order, Niloufar does the bravest work, transforming not only the society from which she comes, but help change the society in which she lives.'

Houman Pourmehdi has performed live, on radio and on television throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and North Africa. His knowledge of traditional repertoire and intimacy with Sufi world serve a very personal style of interpretation and composition. He is the recipient of the C.O.L.A. 2008, L.A. Treasures Award 2004 and 2008, and ACTA the Folk and Traditional Arts Mentorship Initiative 2004 and 2006.

Pirayeh Pourafar studied at the Royal National Music Conservatory of Teheran and performed with Iran's most prestigious artists at the Center of Preservation and Propagation of Traditional Persian Music. Headlining on major festivals throughout the world, Pourafar is the recipient of the Durfee Master Musician Fellowship. One of the first women to play traditional Persian music outside Iran, she paved the way others to follow. Pourmehdi and Pourafar have scored documentary and narrative films, and with Lian Ensemble, the live score for UCLA Live's Medea, with Annette Bening.


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