JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 12, 2017
MUSTARD SEED THEATER
BY ROHINA MALIK
Fresh from its sold-out world premiere in Chicago, Yasmina’s Necklace is an unlikely romance between Yasmina, a recent immigrant from Iraq and Abdul Samee, who wants to change his name to Sam and turn his back on his Iraqi and Puerto Rican heritage. St. Louis audiences may remember Rohina Malik from her one-woman show Unveiled which was performed at the Edison Theatre in 2015.
There are almost 60 million refugees and internally displaced people, who were forced to leave their homes because of violence. That’s one in every 122 people worldwide. The number of refugees and internally displaced people has reached its highest point since World War II.
I write plays because I’m deeply concerned about the world we live in. With all our technological advances, we still live in a world where there is too much violence and dehumanization. I spent some time talking to Chicago based Iraqi refugees. It was during those conversations that I felt a strong need to write a play that examines the human cost of war.
My friend saw a woman in a grocery store, a cashier, wearing a necklace, the pendent was in the shape of Iraq, and inscribed on the pendent was “IRAQ.” This was at a time when our country was deep into the war with Iraq, and when I would ask refugees where they are from, if we were outside, they would whisper “Iraq.” And yet, here was this woman, with her necklace, and that’s how Yasmina was born.
Around this time I was thinking of writing about my best friend, she’s a Latina Muslim, wears the veil and is married to an Arab. My friend and her husband are a very funny couple, they don’t have kids, and I began to wonder who, if they had a son in this post 9/11 world, would he be? I asked this question at a time when many Muslim men, due to anti-Muslim bias, were changing their names, and that’s how Sam was born.
Then I wondered, what if Sam meets Yasmina…
Welcome to Yasmina’s Necklace.
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