From: Tuesday, 24th February 2009
To: Saturday, 14 March 2009
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Holed up at a remote desert outpost, a team of British journalists crafts covert radio propaganda for broadcast into Iran. Their mission: to discredit and demoralise the regime in Tehran. An eruption of international tensions coincides with the arrival of an idealistic new recruit - an exiled child of the Iranian Revolution. As the pressure to deliver victory mounts, how will the team reconcile their differences - and persevere in their task of ´telling lies to save lives´?
27 February 2009
There is an inordinate amount of huffing and puffing in Isfahan Calling, Philip de Gouveia’s new play about a covert radio propaganda exercise in the desert. The idea is to discredit the regime in Tehran and demoralise Iranian army units across the border.
But the situation becomes fraught with complexity and personal antagonisms as it emerges that the participants each have a different reason for involvement on the mission, and the internal squabbles are overtaken by the coalition forces launching a pre-emptive attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.
New recruit Zahra (Zahra Ahmadi), who is set on a course of revenge for the exile of her parents during the 1979 revolution, throws herself enthusiastically into the war effort, and director
Latest User Review
Rosa Connor - 2 March 2009:
Infused with moments of dry humour, Phillip de Gouveia’s gripping new play Isfahan Calling questions the use of propaganda under the guise of a covert radio station established to discredit the regime in Tehran and demoralise Iranian recruits. Packed into the stifling auditorium of the Old Red Lion, sweating audience members sympathise with the dedicated and outstanding cast, who continually refer to the oppressive heat. A device which creates a tense atmosphere, and reflects the various forms of oppression explored in the play. Kelly Wilkinson’s remarkable attention to detail is most impressive. Some may find it hard to relate to Iraq- being a somewhat unfamiliar milieu, however all will be familiar with an office and the politics within. Phillip de Gouveia skilfully entwines plot and setting with narrative making nothing seem expositional. Combined, this creates a sense of realism which places the distant events very close to home. This attention to detail is reflected throughout the play from the post-it’s on the wall, to the papers on the desk. Further to this Becky Gunstone expertly maximises the space by creating an office and a broadcasting studio in such a small auditorium. The shift from realism throughout these broadcasts is particularly effective. The swift change in lights combined by actors performing physical movements alongside the transmission emphasises the notion that we’re aware we’re listening to propaganda, however can’t help but be seduced by Zahra Ahmed’s powerful performance. The interception of a broadcast from the President of Iran was an intelligent twist in the plot which served as a platform for characters to battle for moral higher ground. The repetition of the line, “we’re here to save lives” contradicted by characters doing the opposite effectively shows the extent of Roy, the operations leader’s psychological turmoil, powerfully portrayed by Paul McEwan. The brutal ending was unsettling and disturbing leaving the audience with a distasteful feeling of an uncertainty regarding real events, resulting in a possible doubt of the reliability of the media. Not only does it question propaganda in war, but highlights the power of propaganda in other aspects of our society and forces us to struggle with identifying this. ...
Philip de Gouveia (Author)