First-Person Plural

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
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela