In the old fire station in Gallneukirchen, a broad audience – including school classes – were able to experience Shahrzahd Nazarpour’s impressive performace Hijab Offline, in collaboration with the Dschungel Vienna (the theater for young audiences). Shahrzad has been on theater stages ever since she was ten years old, and has a moving story to tell. Already when she was very young, the hijab was a hindrance to her in order to fully express herself as an artist.
Her first encounters with theater were marred by a painful experience: her hijab became loose while she was performing a monologue. The reactions of her teachers, as well as those of her colleagues were painful and stayed with her for a long time. To this day, she still makes very sure that all of her clothing sits right before stepping on a stage. In Hijab Offline, the stage becomes the staging ground for her own story by shining a light on challenges she had to face both in Iran and in Austria as a young actress. And yet the story goes much further than that of the importance of a single piece of clothing. Shahrzad uses the hijab as a jumping off point to ask much deeper questions concerning identity, self-determination, and support in the face of discrimination.
The performance asks existential questions, that resonated with the audience: what shapes my life’s story, and my individual world? What values are important to me? Hijab Offline also underlines the performer’s struggle against prejudice and pressures, discussions with parents and friends, and the intense interaction with the audience. It breaks with traditional ideas about femininity and Muslim identity through powerful monologues, a moving choreography, and vivid interactions. In the subsequent artist talk, space was made to go deeper and clear up moments that stayed with audience members after the performance.
Shahrzad Nazarpour is a performance artist, a dancer, actress, choreographer, and director. She completed the bachelor programme at the College of Performing Art Teheran, and is currently studying at the Academy for Applied Art in Vienna. Shahrzah Nazarpour has previously realised a number of projects in Iran, as well as in Germany, Denmark, Italy, and Austria. In her artistic practice she tries to combine her passion for feminism, inclusion, and post-humanism with her knowledge from the areas of dance, theatre, and martial arts. Her works deal with topics such as sexualised violence and drawing boundaries, body politics and disciplining, life and death.
Dschungel Wien is a theatre house for children and youths that sees its responsibility to make theatre for tumultuous times. A theatre that deals with human beings and the topics within their city and time with regard for current social developments. Dschungel Wien acts as an authentic and courageous platform for the views, lived realities, and interests of children, youths, and young adults.