Scope and arrangement
The Reza Abdoh collection of papers consists of biographical materials, ephemera, clippings, scripts, and photographs relating to his theater and film projects, both produced and unproduced. There are also papers relating to Dar A Luz, the theater company he formed in 1991.
The biographical materials include transcripts of interviews with Reza Abdoh, but consist mostly of transcripts of interviews conducted by Daniel Mufson with Abdoh's brother, Salar, and close friends and associates during the 1990s. Mufson's Master's thesis for the Yale School of Drama is also included, along with unpublished essays, general articles on Reza Abdoh, and a chronology of his life and work.
Productions form the largest part of the collection. The Reza Abdoh collection shows the progression of his work from 1983 to 1995 and offers insight into the development of these works through evolving versions of scripts, handwritten notes and miscellaneous materials from various people involved with these works. His works between 1991 through 1995 are especially well-documented, particularly the European tour of 1993, which includes copies of ground plans, light and sound design material and other production ephemera. There are also a number of materials, including a script, relating to The Blind Owl, a ninety-minute feature film he directed in 1992.
Correspondence is minimal and does not include any personal letters to or from Reza Abdoh. Since all collection materials were donated by Reza Abdoh's associates, relatively few items were directly generated by Abdoh himself. However, there are some notes for the text of A Story of Infamy (his last work) which appear to be in his own hand, and an annotated script for another unproduced work, The Saga of Faust Part I - Degree Zero: The Birth of Mephisto. There is also an annotated script for Tight Right White, as well as handwritten corrections (which also appear to be his) made to the project proposal for this work. A draft of a letter to Des McAnuff contains some of his jottings and drawings; there are also the beginnings of a note on the back of A Story of Infamy correspondence. Of his unproduced works, A Story of Infamy is best documented. It appears to have been scheduled for performance in Europe in May and June of 1995 but then cancelled, due to Abdoh's death in May of that same year. Of particular interest is a written statement by Salar Abdoh regarding A Story of Infamy made in memory of his brother.
The Reza Abdoh collection of papers are arranged in four series:
- 1988-19991 box
This series contains 12 interview transcripts: a 1994 TV/Radio interview with Daniel Mufson which incorporates an earlier interview between Reza Abdoh and Richard Stayton in Los Angeles, and eight additional interviews conducted in the 1990s by Daniel Mufson with Reza Abdoh's brother, Salar, and with close friends and associates: Tony Charles, Tom Fitzpatrick (known as Tom "Fitz"), Juliana Francis, Meg Kruszewska, Dokhi Mirmirani, Tom Pearl, and Ken Roht. Daniel Mufson's Master's thesis for the Yale School of Drama, Places Ripped Open Again and Again: Sex, Identity and Death in the Recent Works of Reza Abdoh (Spring 1995) is also included. There are also transcripts of interviews between Reza Abdoh and John Bell (1994), Josette Feral (ca. 1995), and Howard Ross Patlis (1992; Epilogue 1995). The remaining materials are several general, published articles about Abdoh, an unpublished essay by Charles Marowitz, and a chronology of his life. Of particular interest is a draft of a letter (ca. 1986) to Des McAnuff at the La Jolla Playhouse, mostly handwritten by Tom Fitzpatrick, but containing handwritten notes and drawings by Reza Abdoh.
- 1991-19931 folder
This series contains the company's by-laws, certificate of incorporation, tax exemption certification, and independent contractor's form. There are also items relating to the company's European tour (April 28-June 20 and July 11-July 20, 1993), such as the letter of agreement between Dar A Luz and Ariel Herrera, the company's touring schedule, and photocopies of Ariel Herrera's passport and travelers checks.
- 4.5 boxes
This series consists of materials relating to produced works created and/or directed by Reza Abdoh, including works with co-authors Mira-Lani Oglesby, Frank Ambriz, and Salar Abdoh. It contains works for theater, one feature film, The Blind Owl (1992) and one opera, Simon Boccanegra (1992). The materials include scripts, text development materials, production notes, reviews and clippings, (a number of which are in foreign languages) a small amount of correspondence relating to productions, project proposals, programs and photographs. There are also set, lighting, sound and property design materials. Other ephemera include contact sheets, publicity materials, rehearsal schedules, itineraries, festival booklets, and information kits for festival participants. Bogeyman, The Hip-Hop Waltz of Eurydice, The Law of Remains, Quotations from a Ruined City, and Tight Right White are the best-documented productions.
This series contains materials relating to unproduced works by Reza Abdoh, including works with co-authors. Scripts, project proposals, text development notes, budgets, some project-related correspondence, floor plans, elevations, a costume book and copies of sketches by Eddie Bledsoe, and one festival booklet for Viener Festwochen, Vienna (May-June 1995). A Story of Infamy is the best-documented of these works and was in production planning at the time of Abdoh's death.