Q&Q by Liwaa Yazji – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
A new play presented in a rehearsed breakfast reading, Yazji’s work packs an overwhelming emotional punch. Three women caught up in various ways by the war in Syria are interviewed by administrators, from NGOs and governments, in the places to which they have fled. Each has a story as disastrous and distressing as anything you may have read or heard, in a war of mulitiple personal tragedies. Their particular experiences relate to the particular experiences of being female a war, and to the spirals of rape and prostitution which have entrapped them, and of childbirth.
The play is extremely sharply written, and if anything gains from the simplicity of its presentation. The three women are angry, traumatised and forced to struggle not only with attackers in Syria and people smugglers, but with the controlling and patronising systems that dictate their lives in Western refugee camps. One of four plays produced by Birth, a childbirth campaigning organisation, Yazji’s work is difficult but captivating, and will surely receive the much greater exposure it deserves.