'Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why: Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.’
And so cries the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Edward FitzGerald’s Victorian era translation of 11th century quatrains written by the Persian mathematician, astronomer and poet Omar Khayyám. With a narrative that spans a single day from dawn ‘til dusk, the Rubáiyát offers up a wisdom that is simultaneously carefree, rebellious and deeply profound as Khayyám reflects upon the riddle of life and the transience of all things while finding solace in the unerring beauty and material pleasure of life.
At the Moat last year we presented the poetry of the Sufi mystic Rumi with great success and have brought together that same creative team to breathe life into this Victorian lens on medieval Persia. Over lunch Melbourne actor Neil Pigot will read an epic poem where the sequence of a day acts as a metaphor for the passage of a life, one in which animated clay pots ponder and discuss the mysteries of their existence while a man urges his audience to defy fate, destiny and the unknowable mysteries of existence by taking to present pleasures, significant among which is good food, good company and a good glass of wine or two.
Neil will be joined by Persian musicians Murat Yucel and Alisha Brooks (Unified Gecko, Baro Banda) who have toured extensively throughout Turkey, Europe and Australia. As part of the Melbourne group Bashka they create music which brings to life old folk songs, gypsy ballads and dance music from the dusty streets of old Turkey. Together with friends on tradition instruments they will create a fantastical, sometimes explosive, always poetic musical soundtrack for the reading.
Image: 'Enduringly Ephemeral' by Hannah Bertram