The Sign

Atyaf Rasheed, Playwright

The volume concludes with the play The Sign by Atyaf Rasheed who lives and works in Baghdad. The Sign features three characters, all without name or gender. At the center of the plot is a mystery surrounding a little girl (again anonymous) and her fate after an explosion. The First Character claims to have seen her and describes the state of being while searching for the girl: "As if it were a nightmare in a long night that does not want to end, I ran in every direction where corpses fell like emaciated birds, and the eyes of those saved were like balls of timbers, red." Upon further probing by the Second Character if the First Character actually found the girl, the latter responds "No. Something strong and sharp hit my head – I do not know, I was screaming – I held my head and then…" After that the play blurs all lines between reality and fiction, the reader has no idea what actually happened. Rasheed's piece of poetic theater is a brilliant metaphor for the state of being of a traumatized individual. When it comes to analyzing trauma in creative expressions, the sign (on the surface) is non-referential – what you see is not what you get.

Keywords: Atyaf Rasheed, The Sign, Iraq, theater, play

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