Manifestation of Legibility of the Northern Iranian Cities in the Works of Akbar Radi: A Case Study of the Plays The Blue Opening, Death in the Autumn, and Staircase

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, Department of Performing Arts, University of Tehran

2 MA Graduate of Dramatic Literature, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


This article aims to consider the importance of the issue of “legibility” in the atmosphere of the northern Iranian cities, in the hopes to come up with a reflection of the atmosphere and general mood of these cities in the cultural, psychological and interpersonal relationships among the natives of these cities. In order to achieve this objective, the theoretical frameworks provided by Kevin Lynch (especially his two major books Theory Of Urban Form and Theory of Good City) has been chosen, and his ideas are applied on three plays by the eminent Iranian playwright, Akbar Radi, who has always been well known for reflecting the atmosphere of his motherland, Gilan, in many of his dramatic works. These plays are Rowzane-e Âbi (“The Blue Opening”), Marg dar Pâyiz (“Death in the Autumn”), and Pellekân (“The Staircase”). According to the ideas of Lynch, the lack of urban legibility leads to chaos, insecurity, anxiety, anarchy, and misconduct in the interpersonal deeds among the citizens, and loosens their sense of belonging to their city. This article proves that the ideas proposed by Lynch are at work in terms of the portrait provided by Radi in these plays. The unlimited a fast-growing emergence of modernity in the small northern towns of Iran, without having gained the basic infra structures necessary for that, along with the mass construction of residential complexes instead of he old, private huts, and the presence of modern transportation vehicles like cars, motorcycles and bikes, has left a very controversial picture of the cities in the eyes of their inhabitants. For the younger people, the cities look boring, unpleasant and extremely regular, and the seniors feel their cities to be distorted and no longer familiar to them, a feeling which paves the way for their gradual physical and mental crises. Living in such an atmosphere gradually leads to the feeling of mental imbalance among people, and encourages the young people to migrate to other cities, and the old people to retire sooner and stay at home, waiting for the time of their death. Issues such as color, smell, light, dressings, different places (such as the normal hangouts or the religious places), all provide a sense of the city. The impact of such an atmosphere may count for the clashes that different characters of the play have with each other. The clashes between the children and their parents, as well as the other members of the family, may sometimes be justified in terms of the feelings they get from the city in which they live. Some younger people simply leave their residence and add to the turmoil of their parents (as we see in the play Rowzane-ye Âbi, in which the son of the family flees the “lightless, boring city of Rasht”); or make the worst use of this chaos to get rich (such as the character of Bolbol in the play Pellekân). All these features have been checked within the dialogues of the plays, and instances from each of them are provided.


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