KHAAREJ is a two-act performance involving an opera singer and a drummer. The first act performs a poem by Rumi, while the second act is based on a poem by Sahar Te. Classical Persian poetry is written based on certain configurations and rhythm patterns. In the first selection, the drummer keeps rhythm while the singer stays within the limits of classical poetry. The second poem is written in a free-form, modern style for the singer to improvise upon. The poem is structured around words taken from English and used in Farsi. Written in a free format, its component parts scattered around the page, leaving the performer to interpret based on the visual layout and phonetics.
Since foreign language functions as music (words are meaningless sounds), it is important to have the Persian language performed by an English speaker singing for the English speaking audience. The performer accepts the role of interpreter and translator of the poetry to the audience. Meaning is derived, not based on the meaning of the words, but the physical and material elements of the words. KHAAREJ aims to blur the line between poetry, music and spoken language. Words become notes and notes become words. Words become self-referential—like musical notes. As Walter Benjamin put it, “though one may glean as much of that subject matter as one can from a translation, and translate that, the element with which the efforts of the real translation were concerned remains at a quite inaccessible remove, because the relationship between content and language is quite different in the original and the translation.” KHAAREJ celebrates the impossibility and failure of translation (especially in poetry), and considers the alternatives in translating a literary text.
* KHAAREJ in Farsi can be translated as: outside, foreign, out of tune/out of key (in music), outer, exterior, abroad, quotient (mathematics), and beyond
Performers: Louisa Brianna Adria, Dylan Cameron