"Much closer to home, we can see a similar example of this “cubist” approach to documentary drama in a play like the 2005 Iraq: Speaking of War by Karen Malpede.  Although one of American’s leading politically engaged dramatists, Malpede normally does not utilize documentary drama techniques, but in this play she does so.  Here the complexities of the war in Iraq are suggested by the words of Iraqi civilians, American soldiers, and independent journalists, providing a far more inflected view of that conflict than the generally highly simplified and monolithic narratives of the media and most political commentators." 

-Prof. Marvin Carlson

Created and directed by Karen Malpede

Original Music by Milos Raickovich; Iraqi Maqam & santur by Amir ElSaffar; percussion: Johnny Farraj; harp: Nina Kellman;

Featuring: George Bartenieff, Dalia Basiouny, Kathleen Chalfant, Peter Francis James, Judith Malina, Hanon Reznikov, Najla Said, Amneh Taye, Maysoon Zayid, Waleed Zuaiter,
Produced by Theater Three Collaborative, Inc. & David Levine

A cast of political theater pioneers and luminaries who have won awards in landmark productions from The Brig (1963) to Stuff Happens (2006) performed the ritual docu-drama with original and traditional Iraqi music. Iraq: Speaking of War, created and directed by Karen Malpede, first at the CUNY Graduate Center, March 19, 2005, and then at the Culture Project, Sept. 28, 2005, as part of the IMPACT Festival. “Litany,” with the voice of Dalia Basiouny, and “B-A-G-D-A-D,” both composed by Milos Raickovich, were played on harp by Nina Kellman. The music of Amir ElSaffar, traditional Iraqi Maqam singer and santur player, and percussionist Johnny Farraj were featured through-out the piece.

The actors tell the untold story of the first two years of the Iraq war in the words of Iraqi civilians, American soldiers and independent journalists. Amneh Taye and Dalia Basiouny will speak the names of Iraqi children murdered by the war. Greek historian Thucydides provides commentary.

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