Nasreddin Hodja

Programming / Tales

the fool who was wise …

Nasreddin, by Marjane Satrai

Nasreddin, he is a character so known, so loved in the Persian, Moslem, Asian world, that it seems that he was born everywhere.
It is said that he really existed.
That he has a village of birth.
That he would be Turkish.
Or Iranian.
Or from Uzbekistan, from Bukhara to be exact.

BUKHARA, UZBEKISTAN – Modern monument to national hero Hodja Nasreddin

In any case, he comes to us from the 13th century – or maybe from the 12th – he and his donkey, his cantankerous wife, his neighbors, sometimes a bit stupid, sometimes more intelligent than him, his encounters during his travels – and each time, at least, he makes us smile – often he makes us laugh – and always, he makes us think about the stupid things we like to tell ourselves.

Marjane Satrapi –

If Nasreddin was there, he would laugh I think, of all these efforts deployed in any way and especially, in France, in spite of all common sense.
He would surely tell us the story of the lame man.
Do you know the story of the lame man?

This man was an old & grumpy man – and he hated everybody.
He didn’t trust anyone and he was afraid of everything.
He had always had a limp.
He had gone to every doctor in his country – and indeed every doctor in every other country: what can you do, sir, to help me stop limping?
And to each doctor, as if they had all given the word, he got the same answer: “Sir, you are not lame”.
And yet, as Galileo would say, the guy is lame.

So he went to see Nasreddin.
Our kindly madman began by telling him that he was not a doctor.
The old man brushed aside the objection: all those doctors were morons – not lame, he who couldn’t put one leg in front of the other properly because he was in so much pain?
Then Nasreddin suggested to him to look at this painful foot.
The old man took off his sandal –
And then…

Nasreddin said to him: but? you are not lame.
The old man almost had an attack of anger : what was that story? Were they all laughing at him?
In the old man’s foot there was a splinter so long, so deeply embedded, that he couldn’t walk, the old man.
Nasreddin showed him the splinter, he explained it to him.
The old man stood up. He put back his sandal with dignity.
He put back his coat.
And he left, splendid and terrifying, saying: “Hm. You’re really not a doctor. My foot was always like that. It’s not a splinter.”

And that’s how he stayed lame, and raging against the idiocy of others.

Stories like this are full volumes.

Isn’t this smile wonderful ?

Nasreddin is the smile that takes you while listening to the misadventures of some and others.
He is the laughter of the Sultans of the Arabian Nights, you know this laughter, when you get it, you are forgiven, because the Sultans liked to laugh, to fall on the ground.

How to present it on stage?
But as usual.
With beautiful scenery
With puppets
With shadow and light games :

With huge artists like Marjane Satrapi – who is an Iranian artist who allowed me to discover the adventures of Nasreddin Hodja
With music

With everything that makes a show make your heart sing and your mind dream.

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Featured Image : setting for : Un beau matin Aladin, by Forman.

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