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Four strangers, all Iranian men, congregate in the hall of a migrant resource centre somewhere in Melbourne. In their coming together they take the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions.


Join playwright Mammad Aidani, and collaborators Reza Kaviani, Mehrfam Naimi, Mahdi Gholamshahidani and Ramin Montazeri who will talk about the process of conceiving, developing and staging I said to the bird.


Four strangers, all Iranian men, congregate in the hall of a migrant resource centre somewhere in Melbourne. Their meeting coincides with a lifting of public health restrictions that have prohibited social gatherings and kept the city silent and in lockdown, for many weeks. While all residents of the city have suffered during this unprecedented period of immobility, for recently arrived asylum seekers and refugees, the enforced isolation has been an especially gruelling and emotionally turbulent ordeal. 

In their coming together at the migrant resource centre, Arjang, Wahid, Hamed and Noshan take the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions, from anxiety, to hostility, paranoia, alienation, anger, cut across by brief moments of hope and exhilaration. I said this to the bird confronts its audience with the destabilising experience of being displaced and othered, the frailty and thinness of friendship, and the challenges of enduring unrelenting loneliness and abandonment. Amid such psychologically unsettling circumstances, there is palpable relief in small moments that dissolve this anxious intensity—in recalled memories of home, in glimpses of laughter and love, in wrestling with writing to give voice to unspeakable experiences, and for one man, in conversations with a bird who provides a constant ear at a time when there is no one else to listen. 

In this one-act performance, playwright Mammad Aidani brings to life the culmination of two years of therapeutic improvisational work and writing workshops he has undertaken with the project’s participants, Reza Kaviani, Mehrfam Naemi, Asgher Mirhoseini and Farhad Bakhshi. The play will be performed by Reza Kaviani, Mehrfam Naimi and Ramin Montazeri, and Mahdi Gholamshahidani.

Performances will follow on Thursday June 16, Friday June 17, Friday June 24, Saturday June 25, and Sunday 26.

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Recorded: 26 May 2022


Mammad Aidani
Reza Kaviani
Mehrfam Naimi
Mahdi Gholamshahidani
Ramin Montazeri


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