Iranian writer Rumi is inspiration behind event to recognize Iranian culture

The Iranian Student Association’s (ISA) recognized the literary work of Persian writer Rumi through an original scripted play Nov. 10, bringing close to 100 community members and students to the Northridge Center.

President of ISA Farzad Madarshahian said the idea behind the play, “Alchemy of Love,” was to unify the Iranian community and show them in a new light, as opposed to what the media displays.

Diana Naderi, co vice-president of ISA, said it’s important to promote the culture to students at CSUN and people in the community.

“Iran is so much in the news, and people don’t realize what a rich culture we have behind our name…we all love our culture…we try to spread what our history is as much as possible to everyone else,” she said.

Grad student Noushin Hosseinzadeh, producer and translator for the play, said it took a little over a year to put the entire play together.

Kathleen McWilliams, an academic advisor in the CTVA department and director and writer of the “Alchemy of Love,” said the idea for the play came from Nima Rad, a former CSUN student and the main character in the play.

“(Nima) suggested creating something that the Iranian Student Association would want to present,” McWilliams said.

McWilliams thought it would be an excellent idea to use some poetry by Rumi in the play.

“Rumi has all these wonderful sentiments, why don’t we live this way? That was my question that I started with,” McWilliams said.

Naderi thinks Rumi’s contributions to literature, especially in the Iranian community, are vital to educating people on their culture.

“He is one of our greatest contributions to literature, and it’s so nice to hear about so many literature professors also knowing about Rumi, and especially since we were able to make an English translation. This was definitely a great way to promote non Farsi speakers and non Persians to learn about our culture.”

Rad said the play reminds him of who he was as a student.

“I never lived in the moment. I always thought about the future,” Rad said.

Rad feels the message one should take away from “Alchemy of Love” is to spend time preparing and thinking about the future, but don’t spend so much time thinking on the future that you forget to live in the present.

“It’s essentially a valentine to the theater; the valentine to stage managers and actors, and those of us who do the impossible,” McWilliams said.

After participating in theater for 20 years as a stage manager, she said most of the props were taken from things she already had.

“I saw this as an opportunity to do theater, not for profit, but just for the sake of doing it,” McWilliams said.

Caroline Ratajczak, a junior business marketing and photography major, thought the event was nice. She enjoyed partaking in the Iranian culture for one night.

Other performances of the night included Tina Sakha and Farzad Mazloomi, who played traditional Persian music and instruments.