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"A TRIUMPH! THRILLING! AN EXAMPLE OF HOW ART CAN REMAKE THE WORLD!
In this remarkable one-woman show, Heather Raffo's performance is deft and vivacious; her writing, like her playing, ismarked with wit and by a scrupulousattention to the details of character.Among the many felicities of the narrative is her ability to change not just character but tempo, which gives the play its particular thought-provoking wallop. Nine Parts Of Desire, directed by Joanna Settle, is an example of how art can remake the world."
-- John Lahr, THE NEW YORKER
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"POWERFUL, IMPASSIONED, VIVID, MEMORABLE!
Heather Raffo, an American actress of American and Iraqi heritage, is the sole performer on the stage, but she's far from lonely up there: she inhabits her characters with such compelling vibrancy that they do not entirely disappear when she moves from one to the next. The voices are a study in contrasts: vivid and subdued, sophisticated and naïve, seductive and standoffish. But they cohere to form a powerful collective portrait of suffering and endurance in "Nine Parts of Desire," Ms. Raffo's impassioned theatrical documentary about the lives of contemporary Iraqi women. Ms. Raffo's portraits are all marked by vivid, memorable details, [and] a measure of lyricism is provided by her fluid and energetic performance, which has been sensitively shaped by the director, Joanna Settle."
-- Charles Isherwood, NEW YORK TIMES
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"A BEAUTIFULLY SHAPED ONE-WOMAN PLAY! IT IS PERSUASIVE PRECISELY BECAUSE IT IS BEAUTIFUL. SEE IT SOON! SEE IT TONIGHT!
Heather Raffo, the Iraqi-American playwright and performer of Nine Parts of Desire, directed by Joanna Settle, brings us closer to the inner life of Iraq than a thousand slick-surfaced TV reports. Yet her beautifully shaped one-woman play is a play, not a stodgily earnest piece of documentary theater, and therein lies its singular force and compulsion: it is persuasive precisely because it is beautiful. Each character is wholly believable. We believe in their reality because Ms. Raffo inhabits each one so fully, both as actor and as author, and because we never feel, not even for a moment, that she is making them tell us what we -- or she -- want to hear.
-- Terry Teachout, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
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"Profoundly Moving! Rated A! Theirs are tales of terror: Women kidnapped and forced to become sex slaves, then beheaded for prostitution. A baby thrown to starving cats. A girl coated in honey and fed to Dobermans. Weve been told of the inhumanity Iraqi women experience. Told by men. Coming from a womans mouth in this case, chameleonic actress-playwright Heather Raffo the words cut bone deep. Aided by an abaya (a traditional black robe) and an arsenal of accents, the Iraqi-American inhabits the titles nine parts, including a renowned painter, an N Sync-obsessed young girl, and a pro-war expat. What Raffo unearths, beneath the aforementioned Saddam-inflicted atrocities, is the universal and very basic human trait of insecurity. It took nearly 10 years of research to give voice to these profoundly moving stories, and we only need to listen. Rated: A-"
-- Melissa Rose Bernardo, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
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"Riveting! Raffo... delves with passion into her subjects, and one can only be grateful for what she unveils! Heather Raffo performs her riveting solo show, Nine Parts of Desire, with the exactitude and artistry of an accomplished mosaicist. In a series of brief monologues, with consummate attention to character, she vividly inhabits nine distinct Iraqi women: Some are based on real-life figures, such as Layal, a painter from a rich family, breezily bohemian one moment, scared and defensive the next; others are composites that the playwright has based on a decade of interviews. Raffos women, each uniquely colorful, merge to from a complex portrait of modern Iraqi identity that is greater than the sum of its parts!"
-- Adam Feldman, TIME OUT NEW YORK
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"Raffo stirringly documents 'collateral damage' in Iraq. The stage of the shoebox-shaped Manhattan Ensemble Theater looks as if it's been bombed wide open and downtown Baghdad lies somewhere beyond. Sandbags seem to hold the walls in place. And in a deeply unsettling momentone of many in Heather Raffo's one-woman show Nine Parts of Desirea soft-spoken old Iraqi woman climbs the sandbags and points a flashlight into the darkened theater. We are in the Amiriya bomb shelter, she tells us, where the U.S. dropped a smart bomb during the 1991 war. "Here on the ceiling you can see charred handprints and footprints," she says, "and here a silhouette of a woman vaporized from heat." And soon the bombs start falling again. In London, a hard-drinking intellectual shares similarly graphic tales of torture as proof that the current war was necessary. "How could these people have liberated themselves?" she asks her interviewer. Raffo offers no answers, only the anguished voices of a nation torn apart by decades of repression, violence, and war" -- Jorge Morales, VILLAGE VOICE
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An extremely moving, riveting and powerful piece of theater!"
-- Tina Brown, CNBC-TV
An indelible picture of the effect of the wars on very different Iraqi women."
-- Linda Winer, NEWSDAY
"A VIVID, HEARTBREAKING, LIVING MOSAIC!
HEATHER RAFFO fleshes out these women with such chameleon-like grace, with such a raging desire to tell the world about life in Iraq, lets hope that, after the shows SoHo stint, that she takes these women to stages around the world! JOANNA SETTLEs keenly paced production and Raffos thoughtful, poetic writing brings a gallery of souls to life!"
-- Michael Sommers, Star-Ledger
"HAUNTINGLY PRESCIENT! HEARTBREAKING!
Nine Parts of Desire gives a rare close-up view of women in today's Iraq. It's the kind of intimate perspective we seldom get from the hopelessly wide-angle press coverage of the war. Moving swiftly on a set that evokes
the ruination of something that was once beautiful, Raffo manages the darkest moments of humor."
-- Jacques le Sourd, THE JOURNAL NEWS
Raffo is a talented performer, and Nine Parts of Desire is a haunting, ambitious work!"
-- Robert Trussell, THE KANSAS CITY STAR
Raffo pours passion and expertise into each characterization, and the result is dramatically engaging theater! Raffo's poetic dialogue and acting skills have a powerful effect that keeps the intensity level high."
-- William Wolf, WOLF ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE
A gorgeous, versatile, powerful work! Ms. Raffo introduces us to a beautiful array of vibrant, warm, ordinary Iraqi women."
-- Helen Shaw, NY SUN
Illuminating and moving! Raffos portraits project a spellbinding power!"
-- Marilyn Stasio, VARIETY
A brilliant, powerful first-rate production. Raffo jumps from one memorable character to the next, each with a heartbreaking story, and yet a surprising amount of humor!"
-- Adam Klasfeld, THEATERMANIA
"A DEVASTATING YET POETIC TESTIMONY! ELECTRIFYING ARTISTRY!
The nine compelling portraits created by Heather Raffo in her one-woman play add a telling dimension to the headlines that have dominated the world press over the last two years. Raffo brings to the stage an electrifying artistry, imbuing each portrayal with passion and conviction to create a devastating yet poetic testimony."
-- Ron Cohen, BACKSTAGE
"SPECTACULAR! NINE PARTS OF DESIRE IS PERHAPS THE MOST POWERFUL IN A LONG LINE OF ADVOCACY THEATER!
There is something special going on in the New York Theater world. Nine Parts of Desire is perhaps the most powerful in a long line of advocacy theater which has swept through New York in recent years. Ms. Raffo has done a great service in writing and performing this play. Her solo performance makes it even more spectacular, as she seamlessly shifts from one character to another, stitching together a narrative which gives the audience a deeper understanding of the world of Iraq's women."
-- Damaso Reyes, THE NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS
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