Mazandaran University is an Iranian comedy in one act originally written in Persian. The English translation was meant to be included in a student literary journal named Derafsh-e Mehr published at Mazandaran University, but thinking that its publication might cause some troubles for me (the writer) and the journal it was never published. This funny play takes place at Mazandaran University, Iran.
|Campus Security||Mohammad Alipour|
|Fati Commando (Female Campus Security)||Fateme Ajorlou|
|The Handsome Guy||Sina Ghasemi|
|The girl who wore colorful socks|
An official desk and chair
A thick black chador for Fateme Ajorlou
A buttoned collar long-sleeved shirt for Mohammad Alipour
Two student ID cards for Sina Ghasemi and the girl who wore colorful socks
Some papers and a pen on the desk
(Mohammad Alipour is sitting comfortably in his chair. Through the windows of the Campus Security booth, he watches every single person that walks through the gate. In front of the door of the booth with a safe distance from Alipour, Fateme Ajorlou with a face as cold and as senseless as a piece brick is standing.
Sina Ghasemi who has not gotten enough sleep the night before and is deep in his thoughts and is not in the mood to even tolerate himself walks through the gate with his earphones is in his ears and listening to loud techno music. Alipour notices him instantly.)
Alipour: (to Ajorlou) Please call him to come.
Ajorloo: Mister, please come here for a moment! (Sina takes no notice) Mister! (He again takes no notice) Mister, I am talking to you!
Sina: (Finally noticing Ajorlou. He pulls the earphones out) Yes?
Ajorlou: Go there.
Ajorlou: Go there.
Ajorlou: (Impatiently) The security wants to speak to you!
(Sina enters the kiosk while murmuring “What trouble this time!” Ajorlou follows him and stands by Alipour’s desk and observes the scene with an austere look. Sometimes when the discussion becomes too hot she becomes very impatient and wants to interfere.)
Sina: Hello sir. How do you do?
(Alipour speaks with a firm tone and stares at Sina all the time. He tries to be impassive, though sometimes he raises his voice a little.)
Alipour: Hello. Please present your student card.
Sina: (He pulls out the card from his pocket and hands it to him) What is the problem?
Alipour: (Checks the card) What kind of appearance is this? (Silence) I have prompted you a few times, but apparently, you haven’t paid any attention!
Sina: (Restless and impatient) I don’t see anything wrong with it.
Alipour: I told you before to cut your hair short, and you accepted, but now you have grown a stylish beard as well.
Sina: Well, it’s a beard. What’s wrong with it?
Alipour: We have rules here; a student who comes here must have a decent appearance. Long hair and stylish beard are against the rules. (Pause) What kind of sideburns are these; you look like the French partisans! (For a moment an oblique grin comes to his face and then fades away.)
Sina: But, everyone has a different taste.
Ajorlou: (Interfering) Mr. Alipour there is no point in debating; I think you must send him to the campus security office!
Alipour: (Resumes) Put yourself in my shoes; will you let someone with such an appearance in? You can go to the campus security office yourself and ask if you can come to the university like this; if they said there was no problem, then it is alright with us. You can go see for yourself if you don’t believe me.
Sina: Whom should I ask? If I go there they’ll say someone else is forcing the rules, go somewhere else, and finally, nobody will give me a direct answer.
Alipour: What is my fault? What should I do, in your opinion? If I let you in, won’t they inquire why I did that? (Silence) I can take a blind eye for just one or two times at most. (Pause) Put yourself in my shoes; for how many times will you tolerate being questioned for my sake? (Pause) Hmm?
Ajorlou: If I were in your shoes Mr. Alipour, I wouldn’t have let him come to the university since the very first time!
Sina: (To Ajorlou) Has my hair caused any trouble for the people?
Ajorlou: (Sharply) Are you saying that everyone can do whatever they wish?!
Sina: As long as it is not suppressing other people’s freedom, otherwise it must be limited.
Alipour: Then if we let you in, wouldn’t it serve as a bad model for others? Won’t other students copy you and let their hair grow long and grow a stylish beard?
Sina: Let them copy. If it is a good thing let them do that.
Alipour: Are you saying this is a good thing?
Sina: I don’t make a judgment.
Alipour: Look Mr. Ghasemi, I am not saying that, god forbid, you have a moral issue, or you have been harassing anybody. On the contrary, I know, because I’ve been monitoring you, that you are a very ethical and good person. But the university has rules. You can behave as you wish as long as you are outside the university, but as long as you are in here, you can’t be that way. Look, there are cameras everywhere inside this university. They monitor the students through them, and they bring complaints to us why we are not prompting the students to come to the university with decent clothing and appearance… (At this point, a girl wearing colorful socks languidly enters the stage and wants to exit through the gate at the other side of the stage. The sharp eyes of Alipour catch her swiftly. He stops in the middle of his words and turns towards Ajorlou.)
Alipour: Ms. Ajorlou please prompts that lady there.
Ajorlou: Prompt her about what?
Alipour: I don’t know… like her socks. Prompt her about her socks.
(At this point two incidents happen simultaneously: inside the kiosk of the campus security Alipour is still talking to Sina. At a distance, Ajorlou is prompting the colorful-socks-girl. First I will explain Alipour’s scene, and then I will go on with Ajorlou’s.)
Alipour: This is the second time that I am prompting you. As a matter of fact, a couple of days ago I prompted 2 misters, one of them went and close-cropped his hair. Now, I’m not asking you to do that; just cut it short and trim it a little bit. (Silence) It is for your own sake. (Silence) Now, what should we do in your opinion?
Sina: I don’t know, you tell me.
(At this point Alipour’s mobile phone starts ringing, and therefore he tries to make short work of finishing the conversation.)
Alipour: I could prompt you 2 times at most. (He hands back Sina’s card.) Next time I have to prevent you from entering the university.
Sina: Alright, I will cut my hair short.
Alipour: (Answers his phone) Hello… yes… a moment, please. (To Sina) You can leave now.
(Sina slips his card into his pocket, places his earphone back in his ears, and as he is leaving the stage he curses quietly.)
Alipour: (On the phone) Hi. How are you? Thanks, fine. I have to be on my shift until afternoon; you eat the lunch… Yes. I’m on my shift now as well. OK. Don’t you need anything? OK. Bye.
(Now read Ajorlou’s scene:)
Ajorlou: Miss, come here!
The Girl: (Shocked) Yes?
Ajorlou: What is this, miss? Why are you wearing colorful socks? (Pause) And your suit is very short. Don’t you know the rules of the university?
The Girl: (Stammering) Sorry… I didn’t realize it.
Ajorlou: What semester are you in? Let me see your card! (She takes a look at her card and learns that she is in the 5th semester.) You are a junior and you still don’t know the rules? No, you must come and sign a pledge.
The Girl: (Begging) Please Ma’am. I was in a hurry today… Please forgive me.
Ajorlou: No way, you must sign a pledge. If we don’t stop you, you will do whatever you like. (She walks towards Alipour’s desk holding the card. The girl has no solution but to follow her.)
The Girl: Could you please forgive me this time? I swear to God that this is my first time.
Ajorlou: (Ignoring the girl, she turns towards Alipour) Mr. Alipour would you please give me one of those pledge papers?
(Alipour while speaking to Sina, grabs a paper and hands it to her. The begging and pleading of the girls continue.)
Ajorlou: I don’t care, you must either sign this paper or else we will keep your card.
The Girl: But I need the card…
Ajorlou: Then write your personal data here and sign it.
(The girl, having no other choice, unwillingly and hesitantly goes towards the paper and begins to write her data on it with the pen. Ajorlou notices her hands.)
Ajorlou: Well, well, I can see you have polished your nails too… Even worse!
(By now Sina has gone. And Alipour’s phone call is over. He leans back and takes a stern look at the girl. Then he yawns and takes a look at his watch. He realizes that it is almost 12 and his shift is over.)
Alipour: (Pulls the paper that the girl was writing on) Alright, you don’t need to sign a pledge, just leave and never repeat it again.
(He watches her go and then very gently he turns towards Ajorlou. There is a noticeable change in their movements and their tones of speaking.)
Alipour: Well… How’s Fateme Khanum?
Ajorlou: Very well Agha Mohammad. Was it your wife who called you a moment ago?
Alipour: (Stammering, he tries to change the subject) No, it was nothing important. (Pause) Well, now it’s about 12 o’clock; our shift is over. (After a silence he resumes with an even gentler voice) I say if it is possible for you, would you please follow me into my car to have a little chat?
Ajorlou: Do you have anything special to tell me?
Alipour: (Standing up) If you please come with me, I will explain to you. (He winks) By God’s will, it is a good thing!
Ajorlou: (With a bashful smile) Whatever you say…
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