The work, based on the Eliot Weinberger article which uses actual quotes about the invasion of Iraq from politicians to soldiers to Iraqi citizens, debuted Sept. 11 at the California venue. Simon Levy directs his adaptation of the galvanizing article which was originally slated to end Oct. 9. Stephen Sachs produces.
In January of 2005, Weinberger penned "What I Heard About Iraq" which ran in the London Review of Books and in Fellowship magazine in the United States. The article which continually repeats the phrase "I heard" uses quotes directly from politicians, military chiefs, U.S. soldiers and Iraqi citizens as does the stage version. The work serves as a commentary on the truth and lies revealed over the course of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
"The play is neither fiction nor speculation; it takes us into the war and confronts us with the human drama, the human toll," said director-adaptor Levy in a statement. "This is not about history or about something going on 'over there.' This is about what's going on here, in America, now."
Marc Casabani, Yaphet Enge, Darcy Halsey, Tony Pasqualini, Bernadette Speakes , Riley Steiner and Ryun Yu are featured in the multi-ethnic cast who portray multiple roles. The fully staged production also interweaves multi-media sounds and images from real news footage.
The design team of What I Heard About Iraq (A Cry For 5 Voices) features Scott Siedman (set), Daniel Seidner (multimedia), Kathi O'Donohue (lighting) and Dave Marling (sound). The dramaturg is Scott Horstein and Riley Steiner serves as assistant director. Brad Schreiber is the creative media consultant and Nina Soukasian is production stage manager. The original article (available through the Fountain website) has been published by Verso Books in the U.K. and will be published in the U.S. as part of Weinberger's " What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles" by New Directions.
Readings of the new work are said to be slated for New York Theatre Workshop, the International Literature Festival in Berlin and the Connecticut Peace Coalition, New Haven with other theatres and political organizations in the works.
Levy recently produced the Fountain Theatre’s production of Athol Fugard's Exits and Entrances. As a director, he has staged Master Class, Going To St. Ives, Orpheus Descending, The Night of the Iguana, Summer and Smoke at the Fountain and Daisy In The Dreamtime (at Inside The Ford). He has also adapted F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Tender Is The Night" (earning him the PEN U.S.A. award for Drama) and Fitzgerald’s "The Last Tycoon" as well as "The Great Gatsby."
Tickets to What I Heard About Iraq (A Cry For 5 Voices) at the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Avenue in Hollywood, CA, are available for reservation at (323) 663-1525. For more information, visit www.fountaintheatre.com.