1. In your opinion, what’s the quality of life for an Iraqi widow? For those of us who don’t know – can you tell us a bit about the traditions that must be adhered to?
Sadly, once a woman is a widow, she has lost her value and is therefore treated as a second class citizen. She will be living with her family or her husband’s family, where she is expected to do a lot of house work and fade into oblivion. A widow rarely marries again and life is lonely and isolated.
2. Can you give us a window into your preparation and research for this role?
We were very lucky to have the playwright join us in rehearsals. He gave us a lot of insight into life in Iraq. I watched an interesting documentary, ‘Iraq: The Women’s Story‘ and researched articles and news stories pertaining to Iraq. Since the American invasion, Iraq has unfortunately been in turmoil and information was easily accessible.
3. What have you learned from ‘Nour’?
I learned that it is a privilege to be born in a country such as Canada. Your entire life is dictated by traditions and laws depending on where you are living. There is very little freedom for women in that part of the world and women need to be very strong and resilient. Nour has unbridled strength, yet her circumstances deprive her of being the woman she would want to be. It’s been an interesting journey for me, because it made me realize that I need to seize all the opportunities that come along with this kind of freedom.
4. There’s a lot of information in the media about life in Iraq; it can be difficult to get a sense of it all. What do you think it’s like to live as woman in contemporary Iraq?
I think life for women in Iraq is very difficult. They have very little say in how their lives pan out, they have less rights than men do and are easily cast aside as having little value once their virginity is gone.
5. Can you give us a sense of why you think this show is important?
I mentioned that Nour made me realize I was lucky to be born in Canada, but I think the show as a whole has that effect. To see the reality of life in Iraq played out before you is very different than watching a news segment. Theatre is engaging and you feel an emotional connection to certain characters, it’s effect is deeper than what CNN can accomplish. It’s important for people to understand the hardships experienced by others; as human beings if we loose our compassion, we loose our souls.