HEATHER RAFFO WOWS THE CROWD
Whether it’s the 200 folks who stayed for the post-show discussion at our preview for 9 PARTS OF DESIRE yesterday, or the young women of Las Caras Lindas, or the donors at the annual Next Era Brunch, or the 150 folks who gathered for our panel discussion on Arab-American theater two weeks ago, 9 PARTS author-performer Heather Raffo is wowing crowds with her charisma, wisdom, intelligence and dynamism.
What was so striking after yesterday’s preview was how voracious the audience was to hear from her… it was as if the performance opened a long-yearned-for window into a Middle East we all suspected was there but knew nothing about. We’re aware – as Heather told us – that the media feeds us stereotyped images of women from the Arab world: they all wear the burka, they all weep and wail, they’re all dominated by horrible men. But Heather’s remarkable show, directed with such seamless elegance by Joanna Settle, shows us nine completely unexpected faces of other Iraqi women: lovers, doctors, spiritualists, activists… a mosaic of experience that makes the phrase “eye-opening” inadequate.
And the reason why yesterday’s audience was so thrilled watching her performance was that they knew Heather actually had met these women. Although their monologues are not verbatim accounts of interviews, and they are written by Heather with astounding lyricism, they are not fictions. They are women we cannot meet on CNN or in the newspaper… they are only women we can meet in the next two weeks at the Museum of Contemporary Art, through 9 PARTS OF DESIRE.