Bulgarian director Elena Panayotova maintains Persian language

Bulgarian director Elena Panayotova praises Ferdowsi’s efforts to maintain Persian language

Bulgarian director

Bulgarian director Elena Panayotova praises Ferdowsi’s efforts to maintain Persian language

Bulgarian director Elena Panayotova has praised the efforts made by Persian poet Ferdowsi over a millennium ago to protect Persian against foreign language threats.

She is in Tehran to stage her latest production “Shahnameh: A Story of Zal” based on a story from Ferdowsi’s magnum opus Shahnameh at the 40th Fajr International Theater Festival.


“We know that the Shahnameh has produced abundant attractive literature for humanity,” she said in a press release published by the organizers of the Fajr theater festival on Thursday.


“I have studied about Ferdowsi’s life, death, and his masterpiece, and gradually came to understand that it was his Shahnameh that managed to maintain the Persian language, and that the Persian language would have been ruined if the masterpiece had not been created,” she noted.


She called Persian a wonderful language by which numerous stories were created that are still fascinating after over a millennium.


Panayotova said that she has directed many plays from classic Western literature during her career spanning 30 years. However, she noted that plays and plots from Oriental literature always appeal to her.


UNESCO’s decision to register the Shahnameh millennium on its 2010 calendar of events inspired Panayotova to increase her knowledge of the Persian epic Shahnameh.


Accordingly, she found stories from the book interesting to be performed for audiences from other cultures.


Tehran’s Sangalaj Theater hosted Panayotova’s troupe performing “Shahnameh: A Story of Zal”.


The play tells the mythical story of Zal, a son who is born to King Sam but the baby has hair as white as snow. Sam thinks his son is either an old man or a demon and orders the baby to be taken to the foothills of the Alborz Mountains and left there.


Zal is found by the magical Simorgh, the phoenix-like bird with red and gold feathers who has her nest on the summit of the mountain. She carries the baby to her nest and brings him up as her own.


Some years later King Sam is reminded in a haunting dream how badly he has behaved towards his son. Sam feels remorse and sets out to the Alborz Mountains to see if his son might still be alive.


He finds his son a grown handsome young man, well brought up by the bird. Zal doesn’t want to leave the Simorgh, but she gives him one of her feathers and tells him if he is ever in trouble he must burn the feather and she will come to his aid.


He is reestablished as an Iranian ruler and falls in love with the Arab princess Rudabeh, who marries the greatest Iranian hero.

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