Mock the Casbah

Persians are "passionate people," argues Iranian-born actor Arian Moayed, and "all that hair," he offers as an afterthought, is just "to keep us warm." Issues of hirsuteness aside, if theater company Waterwell's re-envisioning of Aeschylus's The Persians is any indication, I would add that Persians are also somewhat schizophrenic, and not a little over-caffeinated. And thank the gods for it: what better way to shake some life into what is widely considered the world's oldest surviving play? First performed in 472 A.D., the work is remarkable not only for its age but also for the fact that it is the only extant Greek play to deal with an actual, historical event, namely the Persian king Xerxes's invasion of Greece just eight years earlier. With monumental hubris on full display, Xerxes amassed an army of nearly a million men

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