Dan Furst will play the character of mystic poet Rumi. - Photo by Evan Tector

'An Evening with Rumi'

Actor Dan Furst will present a montage of poetry and narratives by the reverently irreverent, 13th-century Persian mystic Rumi at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Bellview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Road, Ashland.

Furst, a native of New York living in Pisac, Peru, first presented the one-man play "An Evening with Rumi" in 2003 in Hawaii. He made an Ashland debut last year and was well-received by the town's college and spiritual circles, he says.

Furst, who was passing through Ashland as part of his nationwide book-signing tour for his book "Surfing Aquarius," decided to present a second staging, this time in association with Ashland Contemporary Theatre.

For the last 15 years, Rumi has been the most widely read author among American college students, says Furst.

For the play, Furst is not merely reciting Rumi's poetry but rather embodying the character of the poet. The production is a combination of spoken and sung words, accompanied by musicians, including Seabury Gould on bamboo flute and bouzouki, Marco Zonka on percussion and vocals, Olof Soderback on violin and dervish turner Yahya Suzanna Nadler.

"He (Rumi) was kind of an intuitive poet improvisor," says Furst.

Rumi's poetry actually is spoken observations that were transcribed by his students.

Furst will present a variety of Rumi's works, based on translations from Coleman Barks, Kabir Helminski and Jonathan Star, including the popular "Omar, the Old Poet," "The Question" and "The King's Falcon."

Tickets cost $15, $12 for seniors, $8 for students, and are available at Paddington Station in Ashland and Grocery Outlet in Medford. Call 541-646-2971 or see www.ashlandcontemporarytheatre.org.

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