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One man show in Canada about being gay in Iran.

A Canadian festival of plays will be offering a one-man show this month about being homosexual in the Islamic Republic.

The Hamilton Fringe Festival in Ontario is offering "Borderland" as one of its plays running in the festival July 18-28.

The play was written and is acted by Izad Etemadi from Victoria, British Columbia.

The one-man play is a story about being gay in a country where homosexuality can be punished by death.

Etemadi, a second-generation Iranian-Canadian, has never been to Iran. But he has learned from his parents and done research into how his life would be different if he wasn't born in Canada.

"There's always this fear and sense that you could get arrested and killed at any moment," Etemadi said of being gay in Iran. "It's like growing up in the closet here, but to an incredible extreme."

It's the 23-year-old playwright's first one-man show. He performed it at the Montreal Fringe Festival and at Toronto Pride. Hamilton will be his third stop.

"Borderland" is told through three characters. The main one is Navid, who falls in love with someone who experiences the underground culture with him. The borderland of the title is a home for people who are trying to escape the country and apply for refugee status.


"I won't give away the ending," he said, "but it's pretty intense."

After publicly performing the play, Etemadi said it's unlikely he'll visit Iran in the near future.

He was nearly locked out of the Calgary Fringe Festival, where he'll perform in August. The church where he was scheduled to perform rejected the play because of its theme. Etemadi said the church not only changed its mind, but has since asked him to perform during a service.

"There's a lot of momentum building," he said in terms of gay rights. "A lot of small things are adding up to a huge outcome."

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Title Annotation:Diaspora; Iranian-Canadian Izad Etemadi
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jul 19, 2013
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