The stage, during a performance of 9 Parts of Desire, is crowded with Heather Raffo. Shes alone up there, but the American/Iraqi actress is surrounded by the many women shes created in this one-woman show.
Raffos characters, all Iraqi women whose lives have been impacted in different ways by the war, almost didnt get written at all. Id intended to write a piece about the Iraqi psyche, she says, something that would inform and enlighten. Instead, she turned her many hours of interviews with Iraqi women (whose trust she gained by reminding them shes half-Iraqi herself) into a dialogue between East and West, in which Raffo becomes each of these women a sexy painter, a radical Communist, a doctor who speak directly to the audience of the horror and humor of their lives.
First performed in 2003 at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland, 9 Parts is today a hit in several countries, and is currently being translated for upcoming premières in France, Brazil, and Turkey.