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EghtesadOnline: The 3rd National Festival of ‘Siah-Bazi’ will be held December 26-29 in Sari, capital of the northern Mazandaran Province.

Siah-Bazi is a type of Iranian folk performing art that typically features a mischievous and forthright harlequin with a blackface who does improvisations to stir laughter.

The festival will feature seven stage performances, said Mohammad Jounian event secretary, as reported by Iran Theater (

The plays to be featured have been selected from among 47 submitted works from 20 provinces.

According to the festival schedule, ‘Puppets Fall in Love,’ directed by Reza Moayedi from Semnan Province will be staged on December 26 at 10 am. At 6 pm ‘Plant and Robot,’ directed by Ataollah Safarpour from Golestan Province, will be performed.

On the following day, (Dec. 27), ‘Laughing Flower and Alimardan Khan,’ directed by Mahmoud Hekmati Athar from Hamedan Province will go on stage at 10 am and at 6 pm, Naeem and Na’am,’ directed by Maryam Bahadori from Zanjan.

On December 28, ‘Forced Doctor,’ a play by Saeed Shahriar from Yazd and at 6 pm, ‘Snobbery, Platter on Platter’ (Persian: Efadeha Tabaq Tabaq), directed by Ali Akbar Zare’ from Zanjan will be staged at 10 am and 6 pm respectively.

The final day of the festival will show ‘Kal Enayat,’ directed by Javad Ensafi from Tehran Province at 6 pm, after which the closing ceremony of the event will be held and prizes awarded in different categories, Financial Tribune reported.

The festival is organized under the auspices of Sari Municipality, Sari City Council and the provincial wing of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Mazandaran.

  ‘Playing Black’ Literally

The term ‘siah-bazi’ literally translates into ‘playing black’ in which two or more actors engage in a verbal dispute which is often witty, sarcastic and humorous and contains impromptu skits peppered with mimicry and subtle commentary on current events and issues.

The character with the black face takes on a clown-like role and tries to disgrace the master who outwardly appears to be a respectable person but is immoral and questionable underneath. Siah-bazi is usually performed in public places like theaters or coffee houses.

The 1st National Festival of Siah-Bazi was held eight years ago by the late master of the practice Sa’di Afshar (1934-2013) and Mohammad Jounian in Sari, and the second edition was held in December 2015.

Siah-Bazi Iran folk performing Iran folk performance