Anahita's Republic by Hengameh E. Rice
Since the death of Mahsa Amini in September of 2022, protests against the Islamic Republic of Iran have swept the globe, raising awareness of women’s plight in that country like never before; but the fight for women’s rights in Iran has been going on for generations.Anahita is a woman who refuses to wear the hijab and rules her own republic within a wealthy Tehran compound where she can live, dress, and speak as she pleases. To deal with the world outside the gates, she controls the family business and the life of her brother Cyrus. One night, on the eve of an important secret meeting between progressive leaders, a young woman in a chador comes to Anahita’s compound, carrying explosive secrets that might destroy everything Anahita has tried to build.
Keywords: Iran, women's rights, hijab, Islam, Woman Life Freedom
Produced by Bustle & Beast Theatre Co. at Factory Theatre, Toronto ON, 2023
Also produced by AuTash Productions at the Backstage Theatre, Edmonton AB, 2023
Nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Independent Theatre Division) for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Set Design.
Nominated for three Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards for Outstanding Independent Production, Outstanding Performer in a Leading Role, and Outstanding Score.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Run time: 90 minutes
Suitable for students 16+
Content note: A small amount of profanity is used in the play. The play deals with women's rights and describes situations of public protest and repression by authorities.
Cast size: 4 actors
Male roles: 2
Female roles: 2
Casting note: Approximate ages for the characters should be: Women (one in her thirties, one in her twenties); Men (one in his thirties, one in his fifties).
"Anahita’s Republic gives a sharp-edged view of the struggle for women’s rights in Iran... Title character Anahita offers an insider perspective into gender, power and freedom in contemporary Iran. I walked away without easy answers."
- The Toronto Star
"Fighting words from Bustle and Beast’s biting and brave new play, Anahita’s Republic..."
"...the ninety-minute drama packs a mighty punch, spanning the gamut of attitudes towards (and embodied by) women in post-Revolution Iran."
- Intermission Magazine
"Anahita's Republic is an ambitious contemporary drama...Brimming with slow burning tension, it follows spitfire protagonist, Anahita, who refuses to wear a hijab and is determined to join the women’s movement against her fundamentalist government"
- Broadway World Edmonton
"Heart wrenching and gripping, this new play rattles Backstage Theatre and pushes boundaries in a story about life under the Iranian regime"
- Edify Magazine