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Interview with Dokhi Mirmirani

Numerous people, hearing that I was trying to get information on what Reza was doing in the early 1980s, suggested I speak to Dokhi Mirmirani. I was also cautioned that Dokhi was always and remains protective of Reza. So far as I could tell, she answered questions to the best of her knowledge, but her memory of what happened fifteen to twenty years ago was understandably sketchy. The interview took place via phone on March 18, 1999.

mufson: You were Reza’s cousin?

mirmirani: I’m Reza’s best friend, but he tells everyone that I was his cousin. We’re not actually blood related to each other.

mufson: When did you meet Reza?

mirmirani: I met Reza, gosh, in 1981, for the first time, but I knew of him through cousins of Reza who was a very, very close friend of mine. His name was Y.Z. Kami.

mufson: Was Reza still enrolled at USC when you met him?

mirmirani: When I met him, Reza was—no he was no longer—he was taking still some courses at USC but he was sort of working at a hotel at night and he was like a manager of a hotel, that this other hotel that’s no longer working I guess, no longer in operation.

mufson: Where was the hotel?

mirmirani: Ambassador Hotel. It’s on Wilshire Blvd.

mufson: In LA?

mirmirani: At Western and Wilshire. And during the day he was writing and staying in a motel in Hollywood, which I don’t even remember the name of the motel was.

mufson: So he—he wasn’t registered as a student.

mirmirani: At that point I think he was through with USC. He was mentioning USC but it was writing and working intensely and trying to make a living.

mufson: Did he get his degree from USC, or had he just be taking classes there?

mirmirani: We never got into that but I think Reza finished his degree in Comparative Literature at USC. I don’t remember whether he got his masters degree of he just finished his bachelor degree.

mufson: And what was the first theater performance that you saw that was directed by Reza?

mirmirani: Farmyard.[1]

mufson: The Kroetz play?

mirmirani: Yes.

mufson: Do you remember what your first impressions were?

mirmirani: I was quite mesmerized. It was really beautiful. It was very intense and it was a very semi-low budget.

mufson: That—you said you met Reza in 1982?

mirmirani: In 1981, in winter just before December, around December. It was in wintertime, I remember because I met him just before my birthday.

mufson: So he had directed other things in LA before you actually got around to seeing Farmyard?

mirmirani: Yes, but Farmyard was the first one that I saw.

mufson: Is it correct that you actually went out with someone who was in the earlier company but ended up not being included in the later Dar A Luz company?

mirmirani: Yes, Artson Hardison was a boyfriend of mine and we lived—he was my roommate for almost like three years. He lived with me and my daughter.

mufson: I would guess you have a somewhat impartial view as to what actually happened when Reza abandoned some of the actors he had been using in his earlier productions

mirmirani: I know Reza loved and cherished everyone who worked for him and with him and he was very intense. He was very¾how should I say?—he was very honest with them and they did everything for themselves and for Reza and they were very loyal to Reza. And in my opinion, Reza was very loyal to them. I don’t know whether I can be very objective about this, because Reza and I were very, very, very close friends. We actually were each other’s best friends and spent like days and nights—tremendous amounts of time—together. I don’t know if I can be objective. From my point of view, Reza did a lot for all his friends and people in his company and they were actually very loyal to him and they would break their leg and hand and literally their heads for him and he got to the point that he needed to go to a different level. He wanted the world to know about him. He wanted the world to see his work and I think people who started to support Reza¾Diane White and a whole bunch of other people—they wanted different actors. Some of these actors were not good enough, and some of them couldn’t move to New York. Some of them understood. Like I remembered that Artson understood. His heart was kind of broken that he couldn’t go but…. The most horrible fallout was between Reza and his actor Meg, and it was pretty bad and Meg hated Reza very much. She felt betrayed but then somehow Reza got very involved and she was [inaudible], and she was inside – Father Was a Peculiar Man. And then some others really hated Reza and they denounced him and they wrote horrible things to him. But I think for Reza, in his eyes, doing the work was by far more important and it was above everything else; it came first. The actors took it too personally… but I’m only saying that because I was mad about my friend and I understood what he was going to do. It wasn’t about his ego. I never believed in that. It was about completion of a work that he worked very hard on.

mirmirani: Reza came to the shop one day and said, Listen, if Meg ever walks into this shop, all I want you to do, is just slap on her face and ask her to leave. And if I ever die and if you ever speak to Meg again, I’ll never speak to you again. I’ll never forgive you for that.

mufson: Why?

mirmirani: He was very angry with Meg and he was very, very, very angry with Miri-Lani Oglesby. Why? Because I believe that after Father Was a Peculiar Man, they had problems with each other again and Meg was very rude, was very angry and made very, very nasty hurtful remarks to Reza and Reza was very sick and he felt like she just didn’t understand him. Because they’d known each other for so many years and his heart was quite broken.

mufson: What do you know about his collaboration between Miri-Lani Oglesby?

mirmirani: Miri-Lani was a co-writer with Reza. And they were writing together. They had a horrible fallout because she felt like—she didn’t get the acknowledgement for the most part.

mufson: The main things they worked on together were Peep Show, Minamata—

mirmirani: —Yes, for Minamata, she wrote some parts of it and Reza wrote some parts of it and it got to the point where I went and saw the play and could differentiate what each wrote. But somehow things went sour between them again because Miri-Lani felt like she didn’t get enough recognition.

mufson: You said that you could often recognize which parts were written by Miri-Lani and which were written by Reza when you went to see a show. What was the difference between their styles?

mirmirani: Honestly, the part that Reza wrote was much more raw and humorous and by far less pretentious, and by far less linear. It was—it was much more, like it reminded me much more of contrapuntal music versus linear music, and Miri-Lani’s was much less spontaneous. It was well thought up. Very well written, very poetic but it didn’t have as much intensity as Reza’s work had. Pretty much Reza’s work wasn’t as professional in terms of writing but it was much more intense, and raw, which I love. It suits Reza’s energies by far more.

mufson: Did you talk with Reza much about his relationship with his father?

mirmirani: I did, a lot, yes. Basically I know a lot more about Reza’s personal life than the details about what he did with other friends. But then you can ask me and I can get into that if you want.

mufson: Well, I spoke to his mother, Homa, and she was a little unclear about a lot of things, naturally, since she had been in Tehran for most of Reza’s life. When I asked her when Reza’s father found out that Reza was gay and how much of an impact that had on their relationship, she was a little vague about it.

She wasn’t sure if—if Reza’s father had a particularly strong reaction against it, but I also spoke with Assurbanipal Babilla and he gave me the impression that the revelation that Reza was gay was a catastrophic revelation for the whole family, not just between Reza and his father.

mirmirani: According to what Reza told me, when Reza was 11 years old, he went to his mom and said, “I love boys, and I’m gay.” And she said, “Fantastic. That’s even better.” She was very encouraging to him and she loved him for it and she completely accepted him with no problem at all and Reza loved his mother because of that, because she was so open to it.

And then he was very, very scared of his father and his father was, God, extremely totalitarian and he was very strong and he was very masculine and he was very—everything. Reza actually had a very, very strong appearance also; it was hard to detect that Reza was gay. Because he didn’t have the characteristics or the body language, the cliché body language, of a gay person.

And it wasn’t because he was trying to hide it at all. In my opinion, Reza and the kind of personality that he had, he was a very, very exceptional, remarkable young man and he and his talent surpassed his sexuality. Reza was Reza. There are gays and there are straight and there are some people who are what they are and when you speak to them, you forget about their gender or their sexual preference. And that’s what Reza was. For that reason a lot of women were madly in love with him; he related to women in a very warm, loving manner and very passionate, but they forgot that he was gay. They didn’t accept it, for the most part. He was very sensual. This is very important because these are parts of Reza, I mean being gay and having that as sexual preference, that is true. But I believe he surpassed that.

I know he had a step sister who was from Reza’s father’s first marriage whom he held responsible for showing the magazine that indicated that Reza was gay to his father when Reza was living in London.

mufson: I’m sorry. What magazines indicated that Reza was gay?

mirmirani: Some gay magazine that shows men…

mufson: The step-sister showed the father that Reza was in possession of such magazines?

mirmirani: Yes, according to Reza, she told Reza’s father that Reza was gay and these are the magazines to it. Just to create conflicts between them and to make Reza’s life miserable. When Reza found out, he barged into her room and started squeezing her throat, and he said that if people didn’t pour in, he would have killed her. And two weeks later, Reza’s father passed away. He didn’t believe that he died because of that, but everybody else said, “Oh, see what you did,” and “Oh, you killed your father,” No matter how genius you are, somebody putting that kind of burden on you and then your father died before you could reconcile with him—it was a very, very painful experience for Reza and a source of tremendous anger.

Reza was very, very angry. He and I had a deadly fight once. In the middle of the restaurant and we nearly killed each other.

What was bothering him was that he didn’t have enough time to reconcile things with his father. He was not given the chance to express himself to his father, on his time and on his own will, to go and speak to him about it. And that chance was taken away from him and that made him very, very angry. Maybe it would take him forever to tell him but it had to be his choice. He felt extremely betrayed by his sister, although he never trusted this her. His half-sister, that is, not Negar.

mufson: His brothers and Negar seem to have no problem with it?

mirmirani: Oh, no. They really loved each other and Reza’s always been there for his brothers and they love him very much. But they had no problem.

mufson: Did you say this was in London? Because actually my impression was that Reza’s father was in America when he died and Reza was also in America when Reza’s father died.

mirmirani: Maybe I’m making a mistake, but that’s what I remember. That’s what he told me that that’s happened there, but you’re right, I know that Reza’s father is buried in America. Maybe I’m just mixing things up a little bit, but that’s what I remember him saying.

mufson: What—you are Iranian? You were born in Iran?

mirmirani: Yes.

mufson: When did you come over to the States?

mirmirani: 1974.

mufson: Are you also come from a Shi’ite background?

mirmirani: Yes.

mufson: When you look at the work, do you consider it to be Iranian influenced? I’ve spoken to a couple of people about this. Salar feels it’s ridiculous to talk about Iranian aspects of the work and belittled Reza’s fluency in Farsi, or at least his reading fluency. On the other hand, this fellow Assurbanipal Babilla said he thought the works were very much steeped in Shiite sensibility.

mirmirani: Actually, I don’t see that at all. I don’t find Reza’s work very provincial in the sense, either. I think there is a universal sensibility about Reza’s play in terms of fear, anger. These are all universal terms that are being spoken or being presented in various forms of art and in different languages, but at the very bottom of all of that, there’s some sort of universal similarity. I mean anger, is anger, no matter if it’s English or French. No, I don’t see at all the influence. I see some sort of sensibility of very, very old Iranian tradition maybe in there, in terms of some images…

mufson: Such as?

mirmirani: Such as the presence of the crow in all plays, or the presence of pomegranate in some earlier work. An eastern visual beauty. Other than that, I don’t see any religious or Shi’ite or Moslem sensibility to it. If there is, I don’t get it.

mufson: Assurbanipal mentioned what he considered to be a Shite fascination with blood and vendettas and death. A certain morbidity that’s more typical of¾

mirmirani: I thought that the fascination with violence was Reza’s own. And violence and crime and the violent side and the dark side of life. He and my daughter are actually very close in this way and they are both just very, very obsessed by guts and gore and blood and violence. That’s what moved him.

And we would often have talks on—we both have very, very famous—I mean we had a very favorite director in common, which is the Spanish director, Pedro Almodovar, and Reza would often talk about it, and Reza would say, “How I wish I could see the world in the bright beautiful way that he sees it. I wish I could see that part, but I’m not able to see that part of life.” Or not that he wasn’t able to see it. That was not something that he was obsessed with. That was not his passion to write about.

mufson: And have you ever seen the performance of Ta’zihey plays in Iran?

mirmirani: Ta’ziyeh by the time I was born, there was very little of Ta’ziyeh around at all, until—I mean my father remembers a lot of Ta’ziyeh and he tells me a lot about Ta’ziyeh in fact, Reza was becoming very, very—and he was very, very interested in that and he wanted to have some plays based on Ta’ziyeh and he wanted to work with my father and also he wanted to work—bring the Book of Kings by Ferdosi. It’s a great poet of Iran and his book of Kings that is all about Iranian mythology.

mufson: And it has not been translated into English?

mirmirani: I don’t believe it has been. No. I’m going to ask my father—I probably not terribly too sure. I’m going to ask him. It has been—not that I know of. I know that Hafiz has been translated. I know that the Holy Book and I know that Rumi has been translated but Ferdosi has not been translated so far. It’s an immense work.

mufson: And Reza was starting to become more interested in that?

mirmirani: Reza was talking to my father a lot about that and they had a lot of meetings and my father was telling him and I was telling him about how tragic the stories were.

When I first met Reza, Reza was actually speaking Farsi, but then shortly thereafter, people were making fun. Like, “Oh, my God, Reza, now he’s speaking fluent Farsi,” and making jokes and cussing and doing all kinds of things because we were talking all the time and I was reading the poem for him.

That was the part that really made him want to make a play out of it: It was about the father—I mean the very strong father, Rosthan—this is a mythical character who was very, very strong, like Hercules. Rosthan—like the Iranian Hercules, who somehow loses track of his son and then they both become the hero of two different countries and they get into a physical fight and somehow it turns out that this was all like some conspiracy. There’s much more details to that, but I’m just making a long story short. The father kills his son, but just before the son dies, he realizes that that’s his son and then the poem at that point becomes very intense and very, very tragic. It talks about destiny and how we cannot change destiny and how things can happen. But if he was alive, definitely he would have brought that onto the stage.

mufson: So you never ended up seeing a production of Ta’ziyeh?

mirmirani: I never ended up seeing one in person but there are films of Ta’ziyeh, and I know a lot about Ta’ziyeh.

mufson: Did your father ever comment on similarities between the acting styles that Reza sought in Ta’ziyeh, because other people have made the comparison.

mirmirani: I never heard my father make the comparison.

mufson: Has he seen productions?

mirmirani: Yes, he has seen and he has been in one—he has been in a few different things and Reza used his voice in his play, called the Quotations from a Ruined City. Yes, he has seen it. He actually never ask me what he thought of that, in terms of the comparison.

mufson: Well, if you get around to asking him, and he says something interesting, give me a number.

mirmirani: Absolutely.

mufson: Give me a ring.

mirmirani: Absolutely. But I would think about it too, because we talked about Ta’ziyeh a lot, and we talked about Reza getting very fascinated with Ta’ziyeh. I don’t know if Salar ever told you that Reza’s father had this place called Zourkahneh—the Powerhouse.

mufson: Could you spell that for me?

mirmirani: Sure. Zour, which means power—z-o-u-r, or hounay is a colloqual way of saying Kanai—k-a-h-n-e-h, which means home. So the home of power. This is—imagine now people go not to all these athletic clubs to do exercises and then—then there’s a word that’s called Palavon which I don’t know the exact translation in Farsi in—in English, the—

People who were very strong and they were suppose to have fabulous characteristics in terms of helping people—being very gentle but being very strong. They used to go there and do all kinds of exercises to become very strong. And Reza was actually very obsessed with that because his father had one of those places and a lot of people would go there.

They would go and do a lot of weight-lifting… I can maybe find a little video for you of the zourhounei because that’s very interesting. That’s something that Reza was going to definitely use in his play and he never got a chance to.

But I will definitely research for you in terms of the connection between Ta’ziyeh and zourhounei and the influence of that part of Iranian male culture basically.

mufson: That would be very helpful.

mirmirani: All the memories are coming back in terms of Reza’s fascination with the stories I told him about, —like, when I told him stories about the when Gabriel the angel descended and came upon Muhammad when he was in that cave.

mufson: Yes.

mirmirani: And for the first time he received the revelation of being the prophet of Islam and it’s poetically so beautiful because they’re both extremely fascinated with the poetry of religion. None of us were religious at all, but we both were extremely fascinated with the poetry of religion and he was just fascinated by that and he loved it and he wanted me to keep bringing him more stories.

And the stories that my father told about Ta’ziyeh and there was a lot of like funny things that happened in Ta’ziyeh and I told him and he loved that. That I know.

I just remembered the one scene in Bogeyman—that men are all naked and Julia is in front. Julia was up front with that huge wig and she speaks to her sisters and the men in the background—they’re all kind of like marching and doing that dance naked. They’re body movement does remind me of that.

mufson: No, I’ve never been to Iran, no. Another comparison was made between the way Abdoh composes a stage picture and Iranian or Persian miniatures, the way the action would be sub-divided. In the Persian Miniature you would have various things—

mirmirani: Various things happening—

mufson: Happening all at once and the action wasn’t always related. Of course, that’s not just in Persian miniatures. Whenever you’re talking about things like this, these characteristics are exhibited in so many works from so many cultures in different time periods, it’s hard to say exactly where it comes from. The impulse of critics I think is always to say, It must have come from Persian miniatures because the artist was born in Iran.

mirmirani: Yes. Reza was born in Iran, yes, but he left Iran when he was very young, but nevertheless without speaking Farsi even when I met him, it was deeply rooted in him. In fact, I was amazed when I saw Reza’s handwriting in Farsi—I truly could not believe my eyes. I see a lot of Iranian kids here who learn Farsi but their handwriting is just so childish. And we call it in Farsi we say, pohktar[?]¾that means it’s cooked. That means it’s all very mature.

Reza’s handwriting was very very mature, extremely. I mean it was really shocking to me and then his Farsi was becoming amazing to the point that I thought somewhat he understood how Farsi went. But he really didn’t understand Farsi that well, but he told me he wanted me to read if for him and then—and he could understand the beauty of it.

And that’s for the most part because it—he was very, above average.

mufson: I thought he spoke to his mother on the phone in Farsi.

mirmirani: Oh, yes. Yes, he did. His Farsi was just perfect. He had a very, very thick accent at the beginning when I met him. It’s not that he didn’t speak Farsi. His vocabulary was quite limited and then also, he had a very, Western accent, but then later it was completely gone.

He loved—I mean he loved—Iranian culture. Very much so.

mufson: But he wasn’t religious.

mirmirani: No, not at all. Reza was not religious, but Reza was very spiritual and he was also extremely—he was very, very obsessed by the—by the—as I said, by the poetry of religion. In a lot of religions and he—he loved Bibles. He often read different sentences from Bible and he was in awe with beauty. You know because in Horantutor[?] —Horan is an amazing book and—through my father we both—Reza and I enjoyed them and the poetic aspects of it and the literary aspects of it.

And the mysticism—you know that’s what he was interested but to say that Reza was religious in terms of doing the prayer and doing all the things that he’s suppose to do as a Moslem, no. Not at all.

mufson: How much of his New York work did you see?

mirmirani: I flew to New York to see—oh, what was the name of the play? Not Father Was a Peculiar Man, the other one—

mufson: Law of Remains?

mirmirani: Law of Remains, yes. And I saw the video of Father was a Peculiar Man.

mufson: How would you—

mirmirani: Tight Right White I didn’t see either.

mufson: How would you describe the change in Abdoh both on a personal and artistic level after he received the news that he was infected with HIV?

mirmirani: Oh, in personal level, Reza from —because I was with—we actually went to—and did the test together. Reza’s work in my opinion became extremely, extremely violent and angry and then from that level, went into—it became much more intense—much more intense in and—in terms of chaos.

I mean it looked like—as you—I mean you saw the Quotations of a Ruined City.

mufson: Yes.

mirmirani: It was—when I and I—when it was a show—I don’t know if he showed it in New York at all. Did you see it in LA?

mufson: Quotations?

mirmirani: Yes.

mufson: I saw it in New York.

mirmirani: You saw it in New York, because I saw a performance of it in LA and at that point, Reza was very, very ill and to that point that he was sitting right next to me with a—with a pillow in his stomach and he couldn’t even sit and I could feel, when I watched the play, I felt quite ill. It was very intense.

It was—and it was getting more and more pointing out the universal pain, and then it was becoming, and then towards the end the work became very—it had this—I said to Reza that I feel this sadness of surrender in your play. Do you see what I’m saying?

mufson: Yes.

mirmirani: Surrender to the fact that he may die. It’s not that he may die, he will die and Reza—Reza was very angry. Very angry and then he became more focused in attempt of—he started to focus on himself and his health and but in terms of less available in terms of a friend, at least in our relationship, he was very, very available, and he was very—

I mean he could concentrate on this and—pretty much I could say that Reza died with a tremendous amount of strength. He never lost it in that sense. He never—he never became weak and he went through a period of becoming, really resentful towards spiritual world. That’s what he told me. He said, he’s very resentful because he feels that he doesn’t want to join that.

He doesn’t want to go and be part of that, so he was really resenting it. But altogether he became very angry. He became very angry and towards the end he was much more calm.

mufson: So it was earlier on that he said he was resentful of the spiritual world?

mirmirani: Yes, he said that he—

mufson: That was closer to when he actually received the news of the diagnosis.

mirmirani: Yes. He said to me that he really resents the spiritual world. The very first year when—I mean the very first few months went through tremendous depression and anxiety and of sleeping and crying and I had my old job—he used to come there every single day and do yoga, and he was crying and he was very sad.

And in fact he didn’t become angry at the beginning. He was very sad and very shocked and very scared and then he went through tremendous amount of anger, and then he was sad again in a way that you know, that you used to run next to something.

mufson: Did he have any idea how he contracted the disease?

mirmirani: He said—we both joked about it and you know, he doesn’t—he believes that it could have been one of a few people that he made love to, but Reza had a very, very open promiscuous life and he pretty much had no doubts that he was going to contract it, by just being extremely promiscuous and I was very scared and I was telling him to be careful and Kami was telling me to tell him to please be careful.

I remember in early ’80’s where people just started to hear about AIDS and Reza was going to a lot of like bathhouses and just—just being around alot, you know? And being very wild. And not being afraid and being very reckless, but that’s what—you know that’s who Reza was. And Kami told me to please go and talk to Reza—these days, there is so much talk about this new disease, Aids, and it’s time to be very careful and just have one lover, but he—he wouldn’t listen.

And I wasn’t preaching to him either, you know. He believed that he might have contracted from this guy that I went to Cal Arts with, but you never know who you actually catch it from.

mufson: This is a sensitive topic but Salar raised it. Meg Kruszewska raised it and Assurbanipal raised it, so I have to ask you, they all mentioned the believe that Reza at certain times, actually prostituted himself to raise money, either for—to supplement his own—It wasn’t clear to me whether it was to supplement his own personal income or to finance the productions of his theater.

mirmirani: I think it was just—remember—I remember one night that he was very angry and he got into a fight with his brother Sadar, that he had to—somehow Sadar got in trouble and Reza had to go and bail him out. He was very angry and he was just screaming and he said, “Why doesn’t he understand that I had to sell myself in order to support him?”

I think it was for personal income, more than that’s what I heard from him. I never heard him doing that—because when I met him, he wasn’t doing that. That happened before I met him. That must have been when Reza was much younger than that.

mufson: So earlier in the ’80’s.

mirmirani: Yes, I think it was maybe in his late teenage stage. I mean it was in those days.

mufson: But in America.

mirmirani: I believe so.

mufson: I would guess so since that would be when the financial need would have started to encroach on the family.

mirmirani: Yes, because when Reza was in London, he was very well supported. It was when he moved to America—

mufson: And the revolution¾

mirmirani: I’m sorry?

mufson: And the Iranian revolution happened.

mirmirani: Iranian revolution happened and then Reza’s father died and then all his—I mean Reza’s father was one of the most richest man in Iran, but then when he died, he almost left nothing for his kids and he had friends that totally betrayed him.

mufson: Friends who’ve betrayed Reza’s father or friends who’ve betrayed Reza?

mirmirani: Reza’s father. Reza’s father’s friends betrayed him and somehow—he had a lot of money out of Iran that they all just—they just embezzled it. They didn’t give anything to Reza, and he had great friends that weren’t really friends at all. But all of that—you know, Reza—I remember he told me that he was in South of France with the Shah of Iran and his daughters and his sisters and his father because he was very influential.

And he was very rich and then from that kind of life and lifestyle and going to school with the son of kings and princes, he had to go and sell himself. But he said, if it weren’t for the reversal of my financial situation, I would never written so many plays.

I would not have been who I am right now. He was actually not—he was never unhappy about it, ever. He didn’t care. He really didn’t care. It really didn’t matter to him. He was very generous. I mean it didn’t matter—I mean if Reza had like 20 dollars in his pocket, I mean I was like making like 5 dollars an hour in those days—and say, Oh, let’s go have dinner, and he would pay for dinner and you know—

mufson: Do you know anybody I could talk to who could enlighten me as to a little bit more about how he spent his days at USC?

mirmirani: Did you talk to Kami?

mufson: I spoke briefly with Kami.

mirmirani: But the thing is—Kami was in France when Reza went to USC, and about those days. Let me think about it, see who I can find, because I know a lot of people who know Reza, but let me go and research for you and see who I can find for you to—because—pretty much and did you talk to Salar?

mufson: Salar yes.

mirmirani: Not Sadar, the younger brother.

mufson: No.

mirmirani: Because Sadar moved from LA, The last time I know I was invited to his wedding in Las Vegas because Sadar might be able to tell you a lot of details about the USC days.

mufson: Okay.

mirmirani: Because when I met Reza, Reza was not going to USC any longer.

mufson: Right, okay. So you think Sadar might know.

mirmirani: I think Sadar might know, because Salar was pretty much not in the picture—when I—all those days, Sadar was always around and he was like Reza’s little baby brother and I used to see a lot of Sadar, and Sadar might—I’m sure Sadar is able to tell you much more about those days, and Salar was not around. Salar was in Berkeley.

mufson: Let me circle back a little bit to the politics. This is something that I was wondering about—what did Reza and you talk about in terms of how he felt about the revolution because it seems to me from what I’ve read of Reza’s interviews and seen the productions that he would have been very critical of the Shah’s regime but also would not have been happy at the regime that came in afterwards.

mirmirani: Exactly. That’s exactly what his words. He was very critical of the Shah’s regime and his cruelty but then in and if he said anything—I mean we some talks about my God, what did we—we thought that he was abominable, but look at these people. So in retrospect and in relatively speaking we all thought—and he thought of this—I want to emphasis on what he thought and he thought these people—I mean he didn’t approve of this government at all, and it’s cruelty. And he was—he was very angry with that.

mufson: Did he have arguments with his father about the Shah’s regime or no?

mirmirani: I don’t know, because I never met Reza’s father, when I met Reza his father was dead, already.

mufson: Oh, right, but he didn’t mention that as a source of friction between himself and his father?

mirmirani: No, no. All—all Reza’s talk about his father was in his relationship to his sentiments towards him and the influence he had on him and the anger he created in Reza, you know.

mufson: Was his father physically abusive or just—

mirmirani: He was just very cruel to Reza. I don’t—he never said that his father beat him up but he was always afraid of him beating him up. He always had the fear. He just created so much intense fear in Reza. You know how it is, when somebody makes you be afraid of them, they also create a tremendous amount of anger.

mufson: Right of course.

mirmirani: I remember one I said to Reza, and He said, Oh, I love to wear earrings. And I said, then why don’t you? I said, you should have always worn earring and he said, Yeah, right. I mean do you think I could earrings around my dad? He would have killed me. And he said that he hated his father, many times.

I don’t believe that he actually hated his father but he was very angry and he was very, very angry at the fact that he didn’t get a chance with him to either tell him that he hates him or he loves him or resolve things with him. And he died without seeing—I mean hearing Reza’s side of the story.

mufson: How did his father die? Do you know the exact circumstances?

mirmirani: They never got into the exact detail about it, but Reza told me, My father died of a heart attack, massive heart attack.

[1] Performed in 1985.

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