Hamid Etemedi Todeshki and Yaser Khaseb in SCT's Mysterious Gifts: Theatre of Iran. Photo by Chris Bennion.
Hamid Etemedi Todeshki and Yaser Khaseb in SCT's Mysterious Gifts: Theatre of Iran. Photo by Chris Bennion.
The "Mysterious Gifts: Theatre of Iran" performance at Seattle's Children Theatre breaks cultural boundaries with a gripping performance of the human condition - the journey of life, death and rebirth.

The performance, written by Yaser Khaseb and performed by Khaseb and Hamid Etemedi Todeshki, presents three pieces in one show - all which makes audience members gasp, sometimes laugh but always sitting on the edge of their seats unable able to predict what comes next.

With a performance based on movement that conveys all forms of emotion, the language barrier of these Iranian performers is removed. Apart from breaking barriers by being the first show from a professional theater company in Iran to be performed in the United States in 30 years, "Mysterious Gifts" is a unique and powerful show that is a testament to the performers' skill and dedication to the art form.

"I've been trying so hard since I was a child to reach the point where I am today," Khaseb said after a performance last week. "The more I work, the more I push my body and the more energy I give when I'm performing, the more I get from my environment."

And Khaseb gives a lot to his environment, including his body, which leaves every show sorer and slightly bruised. But that's alright with Khaseb, who brushed away concern about his bruises, noting the connection he feels as a performer to his environment and human connection to nature.

"Constantly I feel nature calling me and letting me know we are from the same world," he said. "We're different parts of the same energy. I don't lose energy. I give energy and I get energy."

The performers' energy permeates into the audience too. The show begins with vibrant Persian dance before Khaseb heightens the energy with imaginative and riveting puppetry - elevating the tension in the room to palpable levels.

The second act continues the theme of rebirth by highlighting the dangers of creator and creation as Khaseb transforms Todeshki into a living sculpture with clay mud. Todeshki's physical strength and the performers' conscious attention to every detail of their bodies' movements amaze the audience until the end.

"Mysterious Gifts" excels as part of the SCT's Connecting Stories program - an effort to expose the Seattle audience to visiting performances from different cultures.

"As a young artist I'm still studying," said Khaseb, who's currently pursuing his master's degree in theater direction at Azad University of Iran. "I'm so proud to be here as a representative of my country and let the people of your country get to know us much better than before. It's been a great opportunity. We've had a great time in Seattle and we appreciate the hospitality."

While this unique performance overshadows modern misconceptions and prejudices, "Mysterious Gifts" gives the audience entry into a compelling world of captivating storytelling through the human body.

"Mysterious Gifts: Theatre of Iran" runs until Oct. 11. Tickets range from $15 to $34. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and at 2 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.