Swimming to Iraq

Swimming to Iraq

D’après Nahidh al-Ramadhani

Based on two monodramas by Nahidh al-Ramadhani.

Some time ago, Luxembourgish actor Steve Karier took part in a production at a festival in The Arab Emirates. There, he met Iraqi playwright Nahidh al-Ramadhani who gave him a folder with three plays he had written – two monologues and a two-person play. At the airport, Steve started reading one of the monodramas and was immediately hooked. The style of the text, the story and the content were completely different from the European stories he had been telling so far, and he felt compelled to perform one of Nahidh’s plays.

Back in Luxembourg, he discussed his idea with director Anne Simon who shared Steve’s desire to make the playwright’s voice heard. They decided to stage The Tale of (Hoo), a non-verbal monologue with about 60 extras on stage and started rehearsing. Yet they soon realized that this was no ordinary production – they felt they needed more background information before they would be able to stage the play, they wanted the audience to know the story behind the text and they needed roughly 60 people on stage.

Swimming to Iraq has become their own, very personal narrative on the complexity, the strangeness and the imperative of story-telling, and on the need and importance to try and understand different cultures and events. It is also a story on the horror or war and on how conflicts that may seem far away are actually closer than we think. Steve Karier talks and improvises about theatre, Iraq and wars, interspersed with the odd funny anecdote. The plot develops as he comes to realize that in order to tell one story and make it understandable he needs to tell yet another one.


Steve Karier & Anne Simon
Steve Karier
Mise en scène
Anne Simon
Jérôme Konen
Max Gindt
Hanoi Youth Theatre (Juin 2011)
Juillet 2010
Kulturhaus Niederanven