Iran detains artists over Shakespeare performance

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities have detained two artists over a theatre production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Cultural official Shahram Karami told the official IRNA news agency Monday that Iran's judiciary had ordered the detention of the play's director, Maryam Kazemi, and the manager of the theater where it played, Saeed Assadi.

Karami said both were taken into custody Sunday evening, after the broadcast of a video trailer about the work. He said it caused a "misunderstanding," but did not elaborate, adding that a court had accepted to release the two on some $24,000 bail each.

The play was on stage for seven nights before the detentions. The comic fantasy tracks the intertwined fates of four lovers and is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays.

Hardliners reject western culture in Iran.