Heather Raffo: the Iraqi-American playwright challenging stereotypes

Iraq 0 Comment 3

The actor and writer has brought Noura to the Washington stage and believes that the political climate in Iraq has predicted the current state of the US

A decade ago, Ni Qasey, an Iraqi who identifies as queer, was working as an interpreter for the US military in her war weary homeland. Her family received death threats and was targeted by kidnappers. Now she is an American citizen and cast member in a Washington stage production.

“I never thought I would arrive at a point where I could write about things that I thought I would never tell a soul,” she says quietly, sitting beside mentor Heather Raffo in a dressing room beneath the Lansburgh Theatre. “Heather brought some parts of my soul I thought were dead and really brought to life parts of me I thought would never be alive. There were things I didn’t imagine I would even tell my sisters or anybody in my family, let alone actually put in writing and make public.”

Related: David Hare: ‘All good dramatists are scared of the audience’

Related: Lauren Gunderson: the most popular playwright in America today

We all watched it unfold in Iraq. If we don’t use that as a wake-up call, I don’t know what will work

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