Directed by Kimberly Senior
At TimeLine Theatre, Chicago
Pillage of ancient Middle East artifacts becomes a personal mission for a dedicated patron
It is 2003 in Iraq, just before the US invasion and Yasin Shalid (Demetrios Troy), the curator of a museum in Mosul, Iraq is obsessed with saving a key ancient artifact – the cherished statue of ancient mother goddess Inana from being looted and destroyed. Told through flashbacks, Inana is a drama and a love story about dedicated souls bent on saving artifacts as well as saving their country’s ancient treasures.
Peopled by representative Iraq characters and highlighting the plight of woman in the Arab society, this 90 minute drama has its moments despite a laborious opening scene in a London hotel room. After a long enticement, Yasin finally gets his bride to leave her bathroom to talk to her husband. Shali Shalid (Atra Asdou), dressed in all white (jacket and gloves included), is so shy and fearful of her husband that we wonder about her and the apprehensions of Iraq woman. Eventually, we learn about the deal Yaslin made with Emad Al-Bayilt, (Anish Jethmalani), Shali’s father, that got Emad to help preserve the statue of Inana if Yaslin married his daughter and took her out of Iraq.
We see how Yaslin, with the help of other antique patrons, weaves a complex plot to preserve and save Iraqi artifacts . Sprinkled with scary attitudes about Iraq woman, this unlikely romance emerges under strange circumstances. The intense performance by Demetrios Troy and Atra Asdou fuel this suspenseful drama. My problem with this play lies with the tedious opening scene in the London hotel that finds Shali camping out in the bathroom for what seemed like forever! Once that scene finally played out, we gradually learn the plot twists. I only wish that more about the plight of women. The threat of plunder of the artworks was hauntingly dramatized.
This play effectively puts faces on those who desire to both preserve ancient artifacts and those who are determined to save loved one’s from the brutal societal norms against woman and the harsh rule of a dictator. We care about these folks as we empathize with their plight. We see that most Iraqis are not our enemies, only the dictator and his gang. This play is worth a look.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: May 14, 2105
For more info checkout the Inana page at theatreinchicago.com
At TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington, Chicago,IL, call 773-281-8463, www.timelinetheatre.com, tickets $39 – 449 – $52, Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2pm, two Tuesdays, June 23 & 30 at 7:30 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through July 26, 2015