New York City
The Artists Network of Refuse & Resist!, in association with playwright Naomi Wallace, presents Imagine: Iraq, an evening of eight new short plays. The pieces are inspired by the lives of those affected by the US/UK’s roles in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq, after ten years of bombing and the imposition of international sanctions. These works-in-progress will be performed as a staged reading.
Participating playwrights include Tariq Ali, Kia Corthron, Culture Clash, Reg e. Gaines, Trevor Griffiths, Robert O’Hara, Harold Pinter, Betty Shamieh, and Naomi Wallace.
This project has been in the making for nearly a year. It began with the writing of a short play by Naomi Wallace, originally commissioned by the McCarter Theater. Her piece concerns an Iraqi pigeon collector who is forced to see his prize pigeons sold for food. Wallace and Julian began to think about how this story could invite other stories, how it might be possible to create a whole evening of short plays which explore the connections between the people in Iraq, the Middle East, and the people in the west. When they asked other playwrights to contribute their own stories, nearly everyone said yes. The plays started coming in- stories of Iraqi teenagers, a family and a dying child, two homeless men in New York City, a Chicano actor and a Muslim cab driver, the sister of a Palestinian suicide bomber.
As the artists prepared to take the plays to the stage, the shocking events of September 11 and the war changed everyone’s lives, creating a need and possibility for artists to connect with the people in important ways. In that spirit, the writers and producers of Imagine: Iraq are inviting the public to share in the first staged reading of these plays.