The Door (Iran Saye Theatre) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Shiva Makinian and Mina Zaman

Iran Saye Theatre‘s The Door had its premiere at the Toronto Fringe FestivalThe Door is definitely an interesting endeavour, and I appreciate the story it was trying to tell. However, I found that its execution didn’t necessarily work.

The Door consists of the stories of two women and their experiences with immigration. The first was about a woman who moved from Tehran to Toronto when she was 18. After completing her education, she moved back to Tehran but often feels conflicted about both cities. Whenever she’s in Tehran, she wants to go to Toronto. Whenever she’s in Toronto, she wants to go to Tehran.

This differs greatly from my own experience with immigration. I feel more rooted in Toronto since my parents met here, I was born here, and I have lived here my entire life. Therefore, I can’t completely relate to this struggle. However, I can imagine and empathize with the confusion of having grown up in Tehran and suddenly relocating in Toronto for the most formative years of your life. They’re two completely different worlds.

The second story is about a woman living in Toronto, but her visa is about to expire. In contrast to the first woman, she desperately wants to stay in Toronto and doesn’t want to move back to Iran at all.

The thing I appreciate most about The Door is that it tells an important story of immigration and what it means to be Canadian. 

One of the issues I had with The Door was that it felt like it could have been shorter. Most of the time it felt that instead of moving forward it meandered. Both stories featured the same beat over and over again. One women is stuck between Toronto and Tehran, and the other is forced out of Toronto.

I wish there was more to work with, or that The Door spent more time building the characters and giving us more cohesive information about their lives. It felt like The Door didn’t go deep enough into the characters to make me care as deeply about them as the play wanted me to.

The Door is extremely experimental, as it incorporates dance, movement, and symbolism into its story. I thought some of the sequences, as well as the use of props and lighting, were beautiful and visually pleasing. However, this quickly became convoluted.

I thought there were too many motifs to keep track of. The symbolism seemed too abstract. What did the paint brushes mean? Or the fabric? Or the sound of the washing machine? Or the bags?

I usually enjoy when productions experiment with form, but I prefer it in small doses—that way, the experimental sequences are more unique and meaningful. The Door does the exact opposite. There was scene after scene of experimentation, vague symbolism, and overused motifs.

Overall, The Door tells an often untold story of what it means to be Canadian. I just wish it told that story better. I understand that this wasn’t necessarily supposed to be especially structured, but some coherence would have been nice. It would have kept The Door grounded and more emotionally resonant to me.


  • The Door plays at The Theatre Centre’s Franco Boni Theatre. (1115 Queen St. W.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • This venue is accessible.


  • Friday July 7th, 08:00 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 11:30 pm
  • Sunday July 9th, 09:15 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 05:15 pm
  • Tuesday July 11th, 01:00 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 12:00 pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 05:15 pm

Photo of Shiva Makinian and Mina Zaman by Milad Beheshti