A Stirring Reflection on Love, Violence, and Resilience

Last night, I went to see the performance of “Echoes from Far Away Cities” at the Evergreen Theater, and I am sure that like me the audience was captivated by the brilliance of the play Echoes – a production that delves deep into the harrowing realities of domestic violence. While the acting may have had its shortcomings, Panthea Vatandoost’s portrayal stood out as a beacon of excellence, bringing depth and authenticity to her character.

Set against the backdrop of Iran, the play follows documentary filmmaker Sanam on her quest to uncover the truth about extreme domestic violence. What begins as a mission to capture a story objectively soon becomes a journey of personal reckoning as Sanam finds echoes of her own experiences in the lives of her subjects.

One of the most striking moments of the play occurs when Sanam interviews an acid attack victim, prompting profound questions about the nature of violence and its underlying causes. Through this encounter, the audience is forced to confront the disturbing reality that abuse can take many forms, including sexual, emotional, psychological, verbal, and financial.

“Echoes” powerfully illustrates that domestic violence is not just a private matter—it is a pervasive human rights violation that thrives in the shadows of silence and shame. Despite its prevalence, it often goes unreported due to fear, stigma, and the complicity of society.

The production design, which expertly combined multimedia elements with courageous performances (but again most of the actors failed to fully embody their characters – typically found in live theater – making the performances feel forced and contrived) , added another layer of depth to the narrative. It invited audiences to bear witness to the devastating impact of trauma and abuse, challenging us to reevaluate our perceptions of love, power, and self-worth.

Leaving the theatre, I was filled with a whirlwind of emotions. On one hand, I felt immensely grateful for the healthy and loving relationship I have. The play served as a stark reminder of the importance of mutual respect, acceptance, and open communication in a partnership. It also reminded me that what may seem like challenges in our lives pale aren’t really in comparison to the struggles faced by others.

Yet, despite feeling blessed, I couldn’t shake the heaviness in my heart. The raw portrayal of abuse and its far-reaching effects left me with a knot in my stomach and a lingering sense of unease. It’s impossible not to be deeply affected by such a powerful writing and the weighty subject matter it confronts.

“Echoes from Far Away Cities” forced me to confront uncomfortable truths about the world we live in and the pervasive nature of violence and injustice. It challenged me to reflect on my own attitudes and behaviors, and to consider how I can contribute to creating a safer and more compassionate society.