These days, news from Iraq usually arrives in the form of numbing fatality statistics as Americans wait for the withdrawal of combat forces in 2011. The play 9 Parts of Desire brings a human element to the war, though. Opening tomorrow in the Hecht Studio Theater, 9 Parts of Desire examines nine Iraqi women who provide a mosaic of life in and out of Iraq from the first Gulf War to the attacks on Sept. 11.
9 Parts of Desire, written by Heather Raffo, an Iraqi-American, has become one the most popular productions on college campuses in the United States, according to director Patricia Dolan. The five University of Miami cast members have been furiously rehearsing since Jan. 21 to master the play, which Raffo wrote as a one-woman show consisting solely of monologues in prose fragments. The characters include a doctor conducting research on cancer stemming from chemical warfare, an American living in New York during the Sept. 11 attacks, and a mystic who provides a link between the living and the dead.
The play “shows how women weave together and are really the same person,” said Daria DeGaetano, a senior who plays Layal, an artist and curator of the Saddam Art Museum.
Patricia Dolan, a veteran director and theater lecturer at UM, had guest speakers from or descended from the Middle East help the actors master Iraqi life, dress and accents.
“I think [9 Parts of Desire] really conveys the urgency for people to understand different cultures, beliefs and politics,” Dolan said.
While the play is certainly charged, it does not present one overtly political message.
“The show is not ‘Hate Bush,’ ‘Support Iraq.’ You’re supposed to have the compassion to see both sides,” DeGaetano said.
9 Parts of Desire premieres tomorrow at 8 p.m. and plays Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Hecht Studio Theater, located in room 204 on the second floor of Hecht. It is free to both students and non-students. To reserve a spot, sign up in the Theater Department, also on the second floor of Hecht.
If You Go
What: 9 Parts of Desire
When: Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Where: Hecht Studio Theater, room 204 on the second floor of Hecht Residential College