Shortlisted for the 2018 QWF Prize for Playwriting It is 2007, and Iraq is roiling under the American occupation. Fractured by warring political factions, threatened by Islamic fundamentalism, preyed on by American industrialists, it is a place where the cry of a dying child often goes unheard. Against this backdrop, the Americans prepare to host the Conference for Democracy and the Salvation of Iraq, a glittering assembly of powerful Iraqis and Americans. One day, at the checkpoint in front of the conference, a little girl called Ghazal Ahad in search of her father is shot by an unidentified American soldier.
As the conference unfolds, American commanders struggle to contain the fallout from the "incident." Nonetheless, a Sheikh declares a fatwa, the Iraqi prime minister finds his government threatened, and the commander in charge, Hektor, who harbors a secret past, is forced to protect both the army and himself. At the centre of this chaos unfolds an intensely private drama of grief, revenge and forgiveness. As the turmoil tightens around them, we are led to question not only what comprises "war" and "terror," but how, where and by whom the real "war on terror" is fought...
Rahul Varma is a playwright and artistic director of Teesri Duniya Theatre in Montreal, which he co-founded in 1981. In 1998 he co-founded the quarterly alt.theatre: cultural diversity and the stage, where many of his articles have appeared. He writes both in Hindi and English. Some of his recent plays are Land Where the Trees Talk, No Man's Land, Trading Injuries, Bhopal, and State of Denial. His plays have been translated into French, Italian, Hindi and Punjabi. He is a recipient of Special Juror's Award from the Quebec Drama Federation.
"?Rahul Varma doesn?t spare anyone from criticism. Just as Americans are depicted as war criminals, Iraqis are depicted as a nation locked in civil strife, torn between religious pride and a desire for peace and stability." --The Suburban
"Rahul Varma's Bhopal, about the deadly explosion at a Union Carbide pesticide factory in India in 1984, is an urgent message in dramatic form." --Montreal Gazette