Mirza Husayn-Ali, who is known to the world by His title, Baha’u’llah, was born in Tehran, Iran on 12 November, 1817. Baha’u’llah means “Glory of God” in Arabic and He is the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith. The anniversary of the day He was born is celebrated alongside the Birth of the forerunner of His Revelation, the Bab. These Twin Holy Days are celebrated annually as one festival where the closely interwoven missions of these two Divine Luminaries are remembered together.
“What If?” A Theatrical Presentation for the Birth of Baha’u’llah
“What If?” is a theatrical production that was staged in honour of the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. Created by the Baha’is of Hamilton (Canada), “What If?” features drama, film and entertainers like Jack Lenz and Toronto’s Countermeasure to pose the question – “What if Baha’u’llah has brought the answers the world has been seeking?” This bicentennial celebration highlights the transformative impact of Baha’u’llah’s teachings on the lives of families, neighborhoods, and communities.
The main character of “What If?” is Sean, whose sense of what’s happening in the world and to his friends has reached a critical juncture in his life. The seeming “good life,” the life of pleasure and distraction offered by society especially in the West, has soured for him. Having lost his best friend through depression and seeing so many others plagued by addictions, Sean’s anxiety about the state of the world has worsened. And yet, deep down, Sean is an optimist, he senses that somewhere there ARE answers, that happiness and contentment ARE possible, and that a life of purposeful direction – in search of justice and service and love, IS possible. He just needs to find it.
Having met a new friend, Kyle, who is aware of the teachings of Baha’u’llah, Sean is now faced with the ultimate test: if he senses truth in what Kyle is telling him, will he be able to set aside his previous habits and assumptions to explore deeply? And if through his search he finds the truth, will he have the courage and resolve to embrace it?
In this production, you’ll watch a few short videos that share a story from the life of Baha’u’llah, as recounted by a child. You can watch all of the “Stories of Baha’u’llah” videos, produced by WestWind Pictures, here on their Vimeo page.
We also hear a prayer revealed by Baha’u’llah sung. This song is featured as one of our Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions. You can watch the video of “If It Be Thy Pleasure” here, and listen and download it here.
Edward Granville Browne’s account of meeting Baha’u’llah is also quoted in “What If?”. If you’d like to hear or download a dramatic reading of Browne’s recollections, you can find it here on Baha’i Blog.
You can also listen to the creative endeavours of some of the artists involved in this production. For example, Rainn Wilson interviewed Mary Darling and Clark Donnelly of WestWind Pictures (you can listen to that Baha’i Blogcast episode here) and Jack Lenz was featured on the Cloud9 podcast (you can listen to that episode here).
For more information (including videos, artworks, messages from world leaders, and more!) on how the bicentenary was celebrated around the world, be sure to visit bicentenary.bahai.org!
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.