Can an immigrant’s story offer a space for healing and reconciliation in today’s America?
There is a Portal
Written & Performed by Kayhan Irani
Directed by Rania Lee Khalil
Video Art by Gazelle Samizay
"This place is home. My connection to each one of you that’s my home. We don’t have to let it come undone."
My latest project There is a Portal is a multimedia, one-woman show that reimagines belonging, place, and human connection in a divided world. I recreate and embody my journey of displacement and the search for home in four parts: Loss, Hatred, Regret, and Closeness. There is a Portal is an exploration and experimentation between performer and audience to co-create a deeper consciousness through theater.
"I wanted that. I wanted someone to say, 'Welcome, we’re so glad you’re here. Tell me about you.' "
From the streets of Tehran during the Iranian Revolution to the streets of Manhattan on September 11th, from Zoroastrian tales of fleeing to India to American-style assimilation pressures, the performance brings to life cycles of oppression that are woven together, reordered and unpacked for audiences. I also invite the audience to tell their own stories, both during the performance and in structured post-show storytelling.
“If we can remember together, we can pull the poison out.”
The performance is structured to build opportunities for audiences to reflect deeply, initiate self-healing, connect with their own power and formulate creative strategies for the real world. Creating spaces to deeply know each other’s lived experience we can divest from stock stories of who “belongs” and forward a radically inclusive vision of America. This form of participatory theater seeks to create space for truth-telling and healing within immigrant, refugee, and diaspora communities.
“Del beh del, rah dareh. From one heart to another: There is a Portal.”
Hatred is being met with rising desires for humanity and a shared commitment to justice. More and more people want art that engages with political realities. There is a Portal is a vehicle for authentic and powerful engagement when used in spaces to have necessary conversations about our democracy and our role in it.