INANA Design Conversation continued:

I shared this with Bob Klingelhoefer our Set Designer RE: my Director’s concept for INANA by Michele Lowe:

MAIN IDEA: War destroys lives. But war also destroys a peoples’ culture, their history, their heritage, their identity, and their souls.

Michele Lowe weaves an intricate tale that’s both a love story and an ode to the treasures of the unique far-reaching civilization that developed between the Tigris and Euphrates. The story’s centerpiece is a sculpture of the ancient goddess Inana…metaphorically, the soul of the country…whose safety is entrusted to Darius, the museum curator. Lowe brings this imagery and symbolism to flesh in Darius’ new wife, Shali. The entirety of the action takes place in a dingy hotel room and the adjoining bathroom, with spaces used for memory/flashback scenes. This is a memory play that has fluidity of Time and flexible playing space. I want to provide the contemporary audience with a canvas  in which memory seamlessly informs the present.

In the opening scene…Shali is sitting in the adjoining hotel bathroom wearing a white hijab which covers her mysterious silence. This scene initiates a seductive unveiling of emotions set to the rhythm of a compelling thriller.

INANA is an engaging story that allows us to consider our “enemy” in new and more humane ways…to consider the infuriating plight of Middle Eastern women. And to reflect on the unconscionable desecration of a country’s sacred heritage. The play depicts Iraqis who are proud to be Middle Eastern, yet pose no threat to the sensibilities of their American audience. INANA stems the tide of Middle Eastern stereotyping. It portrays a heroic Iraqi curator’s desperate attempt to save a treasured statue before the U.S. invasion. And it’s a love story, making it a rare drama that portrays Middle Eastern characters in something positive about their culture.

Now that the Obama administration has set into motion a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq, the search begins for a way to heal that country from the death and devastation. The depth and breadth of the damage done to Persian civilization has been severe. Michele Lowe opens a window of hope and opportunity.

Ed Herendeen