First-Person Plural

Actress has multiple-personality disorder — in a good way

The stage, during a performance of 9 Parts of Desire, is crowded with Heather Raffo. She’s alone up there, but the American/Iraqi actress is surrounded by the many women she’s created in this one-woman show.

Raffo’s characters, all Iraqi women whose lives have been impacted in different ways by the war, almost didn’t get written at all. “I’d 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 she’s 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.


March 7-23, 2008
 
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