In The Line For A Show

It's Tehran, and an international drama festival. The censors are very very busy, but the young theater-goers keep one step ahead of them:

Finally one of the men says that they are here to experience something new and to see the performances by visiting theater groups from the West. They are curious, another man adds. The Polish production - or was it the French one? - promises to be especially exciting. The actresses wear ankle-length robes, as required under Islamic law, but in the last act the actors apparently pour water over each other and the women's robes suddenly become skin-tight - revealing the contours of their breasts, legs, stomachs and behinds. You can see everything, the young men say. On an open stage.

Ajjab - unbelievable - one of the men mumbles. The censors are clueless about what's going on here, says one man. It's part of the allure. A woman chimes in. She doesn't like the way the conversation is going. She is tall, has pretty eyes and pale skin, and pulls nervously at her headscarf.

"You can read our most secret thoughts," says one of the men, calling the woman by her first name - "but I beg you, don't turn us in!" His words are meant to sound funny, flirtatious and ironic, but the tone of his voice betrays a hint of fear and apprehension.

Such fear, such promise.