The Iranian playwright, Reza Daneshvar, who was Ithaca City of Asylum’s second resident writer, passed away in Paris on May 27, 2015. He was 67 years old. Reza lived in Ithaca from 2003–2006, during which he completed English versions of Mahboobeh and Ahl (published by Vista Periodista in 2004) and Don’t Go To The Wedding With Friends of the Groom (Vista Periodista 2005), along with premiering two new plays, Sandwich Deluxe (2004) and Alfred (2005). He taught theater at Cornell University during his sojourn in Ithaca, and also collaborated with noted translator Catherine Porter, the late editor Deborah Tall, and numerous theater professionals.
“Reza made a great many friends in Ithaca,” notes ICOA board member Bridget Meeds. “He was deeply beloved for his wit, warmth, love of good food, vast curiosity, and benevolent good humor. We will miss him terribly.”
Reza was born in Machad, Iran. He studied Persian literature at both Machad and Teheran Universities before beginning a career teaching theater studies in Machad. He went on to become the head of the theater program in Khorassan province, and at the time of the revolution he was vice president of the School of Arts in Machad. He moved to Paris in 1982, and worked and wrote there for the three decades. Daneshvar was the author of seven plays; four novels, including Khosro-e Khoban (published in France as Le Brave des Braves); and three short story collections, including Mahboubeh el Al (published in France as Les Jardins de Solitude). Critics note his work reflected his immense knowledge of popular vernacular, proverbs, and folklore, as well as his masterful command of Persian.