Massoud Saidpour

Theatre Director and Former Curator of Perfomring Arts, Music and Film with the Cleveland Museum of Art. A Collaborator of Jerzy Grotowski in Focused Research Program on Objective Drama.

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Artist Statement

The aim of my work is to make the Invisible visible through the craft of the theatre. I seek to stage human stories and actions—both absurd and heroic, grotesque and luminous—that unveil the hidden aspects of who we are and what is unique about us.

Biography

Massoud Saidpour is an Iranian-born theatre director and curator of performing arts who lived and worked in the United States. Currently he is living in Hong Kong.

Saidpour's first major theatre encounter was with the Polish theatre master Jerzy Grotowski, who in 1983 invited him to join the Focused Research Program in Objective Drama.

During his tenure at the Objective Drama program, Saidpour developed his critically acclaimed Persian Cycle, a series of Sufi stories exploring the adaptation of classical Persian literature and performance idioms by a culturally diverse ensemble. Persian Cycle is extensively covered and studied by the late theatre scholar Lisa Wolford in her respective publications in the New Theatre Quarterly and The Drama Review, and in her book Grotowski's Objective Drama Research.

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He studied Stanislavsky's system of physical actions with Grotowski. And in the context of Objective Drama, studied performative movements, dances, songs, actions, structure of languages, rhythms, and uses of space of various world cultures through a variety of encounters with skilled performing artists and ritual practitioners who were participating in Objective Drama. These included Haitian artists and ritual practitioners Jean Claude Garoute "Tiga" and Maud Robart, Korean pansori performer Du Yee Chang, Balinese kebyar and topeng dance and theatre performer I Wayan Lendra, Mevlevi dervish practitioner Jelaluddin Lora, Columbian and Mexican movement specialists Jairo Cuesta and Pablo Jimenez, Chinese performer Chen Wei-cheng, and American stage director James Slowiak.

His direction of international playwrights such as Shakespeare, Goethe, Gogol, Chekhov, as well as works by Beckett and Ionesco have been noted for their scenographic inventiveness and for the power and vitality of ensemble acting.

Some of his directorial highlights include: Phantoms of King Lear (adapted from William Shakespeare's King Lear); He and She (based on Anton Chekhov's works); Come and See! (adapted from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust I&II); The Chairs by Eugene Ionesco; Swan Song + Confessions (based on Chekhov's and Nikolai Gogol's works); The Gamblers by Gogol; and Endgame by Samuel Beckett.

Saidpour was an actor and resident director with the New World Performance Laboratory, a U.S.-based theatre company with a stable ensemble of actors from around the world. During his four years, he performed as an actor, directed plays, and led theatre workshops in company's U.S. and international tours.

He established Project Coup de Theatre (koo-de-te-atra), a two year pedagogical theatre project involving a stable ensemble of actors in the U.S. The Project focused on multi-demential methodologies towards the training of the actor's body, voice, and imagination as well as towards the process of creating the acting score. The company's work became known for its vital physical acting.

During a five year stint, Saidpour was invited by the Ministry of Culture of Brazil and Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil, to teach theatre workshops and residencies, deliver a series of talks, and to direct plays in various Brazilian cities.

For 18 years, Saidpour worked in the Cleveland Museum of Art, a preeminent U.S. cultural institution. As artistic director and later curator of performing arts and music, he inaugurated and curated an acclaimed international performing arts series. Saidpour served simultaneously as the head of the department of performing arts, music, and film at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

In 2014, he left the Museum to focus on his creative work. His Exile: A Persian Sung Drama, a multidisciplinary project in collaboration with performing artists and filmmakers from Iran was workshopped and filmed in Tehran in 2015.

Saidpour holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.A. in Stage Direction from graduate studies at the U.C.L.A., San Francisco State University, and University of Akron.

He is a contributing author to Grotowski's Objective Drama Research (University Press of Mississippi).

[中文簡介]




Massoud Saidpour 生於伊朗德黑蘭,在美國接受教育,並師從波蘭戲劇大師葛羅托斯基 Jerzy Grotowski 及其友儕伙伴,包括來自美國、韓國、巴里、台灣、日本、海地、墨西哥、土耳其、哥倫比亞和波蘭的演藝名家。Saidpour 在美國內外執導無數,載譽之作《波斯三部曲》乃一系列以波斯古典文學和表演傳統為基礎的演出,不但得到《新劇場季刊》(劍橋大學出版社)深入的學術探討,亦引起了《戲劇評論》期刊(麻省理工學院出版社)的報導關注。其他重要執導作品包括:改編自莎士比亞劇作《李爾王》,為他贏取《美國劇場》雜誌「編輯之選」的《李爾王魅影》;以契訶夫作品為藍本的《他與她》;改編自歌德劇作《浮士德》的《來看!》;尤奧斯高的《椅子》;根據契訶夫和果戈里作品而創作的《絕唱+自白》;果戈里的《賭徒》;以及貝克特的《殘局》。

2014年,Saidpour 創立「活躍想像劇場」,與一眾伊朗演藝大師開展了長期的跨界合作。其首部實驗性作品《流放:波斯唱劇》於2015年在德黑蘭進行工作坊和拍攝活動。

1996年至2014年間,Saidpour 於美國頂尖藝術機構之一的克利夫蘭藝術博物館執掌表演藝術、音樂和電影部門,並在表演藝術和音樂範疇上先後擔任藝術總監和館長。Saidpour為博物館開創內容豐富且享譽國際的演藝系列,邀請來自70多個國家最優秀的表演藝術家,創作包羅古典和世界音樂、傳統以至前衛藝術的不同風格作品。

Saidpour曾於美國著名的「新世界表演實驗工作室」擔任演員和駐場導演,以葛羅托斯基的戲劇理論為訓練基礎。1991年至1995年任職期間,Saidpour參演過不同劇作,包括易卜生的《培爾.金特》;契訶夫的《海鷗》;莎士比亞的《一報還一報》;以震教徒歌曲為藍本的《聖母之作》和《古人》;安斯基的《附鬼》;以及根據亞陶生平事跡而創作的《聖人與烈士之書》。

1999年至2004年間,Saidpour 在巴西進行了一系列戲劇工作坊,並為演員和導演開設駐場計劃。

Saidpour 持加州大學爾灣分校戲劇藝術學士學位,並修讀了加州大學洛杉磯分校、三藩市州立大學和阿克倫大學的舞台導演碩士學位課程。他亦參與了《葛羅托斯基之客觀戲劇研究》(密西西比大學出版社)一書的撰寫工作。