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Review of the play "9 Parts of Desire"

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Review of the play "9 Parts of Desire"

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  • May 23, 2006
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Heather Raffo, an Iraqi-American, traveled across four different continents interviewing Iraqi women to compile their stories into one intense production presenting their country's female population from a new perspective. A mosaic of the lives of nine Iraqi women that pieces together countless events of war-torn Iraq, "9 Parts of Desire" presents a point of view which is unseen by many Americans today. Being an Iraqi but living in America was difficult on Raffo. She was torn between her own safety, her family's lives and the duty to her home land. All around her, upon hearing news of the Gulf War, there were cheering men and women (American), but she could not help her feelings of being torn between the issue; her family still resided in Baghdad where the violence was increasingly getting worse yet she felt an obligation to be happy being an American citizen.

Growing up in America, Raffo decided to go back to her roots and create a masterpiece in which she collaborated her interpretations of the experiences of many different Iraqi women. She obtained their trust and love, to get a glimpse of their inner most thoughts and feelings. It is not easy to get an Iraqi woman to open up to you, but Raffo had the right mixture; she was half Iraqi, so the women felt comfortable and opened up immediately, whole also being a Western, so they felt they could express their worries and secrets which would normally be judged harshly if it were someone from their culture. She made it a point to present the play in a way so that American girls can relate and see themselves in her characters feeling that they could exist in any one of her characters.

The women in Raffo's play represent a wide range of females which include a doctor, an old street woman, a teenager, an exiled elitist, and an infamous painter. Together the lives of these women help an outsider understand the face of oppression and the common theme of survival and strength.

First, Layla, an Iraqi painter, who...