Fetch/Grab the King! Fetch/Grab Him!

Written mostly in an Iraqi dialect, the play is adapted from Aristophanes’ AssemblyWomen. Naeem added new characters like the First Chef and the Second Chef, who are both comedic and sarcastic. She also changed the characters’ names and some of their motivations, and took out sexual content and references. The story of the play starts when the women gather in the parliament in the absence of their husbands to form a government. They try several tricks on their husbands, so they don’t come to the parliament, such as hiding their socks or underwear. The play ends with the women declaring the formation of the women parliament. Both Aristophanes’ play and Naeem’s adaption criticize the current parliament led by men.

Baghdadi Bath

Baghdadi Bath depicts two Iraqi brothers as they struggle to survive in Iraq, both before and during the 2003 US-led invasion and ensuing occupation. The brothers wash and quarrel in the Turkish-style bathhouse that serves as the setting for much of the play. The two are, as it were, mired in filth, corrupted by their engagement as bus drivers with both Saddam’s thugs and American soldiers. They narrate atrocities in turn. The younger, Hamiid, is complicit in transporting political prisoners to their deaths by firing squad under Saddam’s regime and then relaying their corpses to a mass gravesite. Hamiid is confined in a military hospital for a month and refused payment for his services. In the final episode of the play, Majiid suffers at the hands of American soldiers after the two attempt to transport a political candidate from Amman, Jordan to Baghdad. Just after they cross the border back into Iraq, an exploding cigar kills the candidate. Trapped in a battle zone, Majiid buries the remains, but is then forced to unearth them at the command of American soldiers, [who later push him into the grave and cover him with dust. The play ends with Hamiid carrying Majiid to the shower and bathing him.]

O Lord!

In this play, a mother who has lost her children protests against God and negotiates with Moses. The woman is sent to speak with God as an ambassador for mothers of the country who have lost their children to war, violence, and sectarian and ethnic displacement. Moses meets with the woman as God’s representative in Tuwa Valley, where God spoke to Moses. The mother presents her demands: stop the killing and destruction, preserve the lives of the remaining children, and spread love and harmony among all people. If these conditions are not met within 24 hours, she vows that all prayer, fasting and other acts of worship will be stopped. Moses tries to persuade the mother that nobody can impose their will on God, and that the earth’s misfortunes are caused by the creature (humankind), not by the Creator. Moses fails to convince the mother, and so he invites her to pray to God until He responds. However, the mother refuses to do so. Feeling powerless, Moses leaves his staff behind in heaven, and joins the mothers in demanding that God fulfill their wishes. 

The Widow

Samir, an outspoken young professor of English drama in post-Saddam Iraq, has an affair with his favorite student, Nour. She is a widow whose husband was a general in Saddam’s army and was killed in the First Gulf War in 1991. Samir flees Iraq for Canada to escape sectarian retaliation for his liberal views, leaving Nour dealing with the consequences of her pregnancy. Samir’s mother helps Nour abort the child. Samir, a jobless refugee in Canada, struggles to make sense of his life, and thus returns to Nour in Iraq despite his family’s warnings. Samir proposes to Nour on the banks of the Shatt al-Arab, a popular meeting place in Basra. A car with two gunmen pulls over and they shoot Samir dead. The play ends as Samir’s mother silently joins Nour on stage.