Timeline Theatre Company is known for bringing us stories that are based on actual stories and historical facts that are meaningful and will create discussion. In their current production, the Chicago Premiere of “Inana”, Michele Lowe’s tale of Middle East culture that looks at the destruction that took place during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Lowe has created a love story of sorts with some exotic icons for us to view. “Inana” was the most prominent female deity in ancient times. She was considered the very soul of Iraq. What happens when the statue, the very last statue of her, is destroyed, or lost or stolen?
In this 90 minutes (no intermission) of story telling, we begin our journey in a hotel room as we meet Yasin Shalid (skillfully played by Demetrios Troy) who is the chief of the Mosul Museum as he waits for his new wife to come into the room from the bathroom. It is their wedding day. Shali Shalid (played tonight by Anu Bhatt to perfection) is a mysterious young woman who keeps herself away from her new husband. A great deal of tension is felt between these two for most of the play, bt near the end, changes take place that will change this couple for life.
There is a lot of mystery in this smoothly directed play (Kimberly Senior) where the intimate stage goes from hotel room to other areas with great ease. In fact we go from past to present with a flick of an eye as Yasin takes us to his first wife , who has passed (deftly handled by Arya Daire), his right hand man, Mohammed (Behzad Dabu) and Abdel-Hakim Taliq (ably played by Frank Sawa). Other cast members are Michael B. Woods in several roles and chicago favorite Anish Jethmalani as Emad Al-Bayit, who is the father of Shali.
There are a number of twists and turns in this sort of convoluted story about a man who may or may not be responsible for the great work of art being missing from his gallery. A forger who offers to make a perfect replica if the curator is willing to wed the forger’s daughter, and what might be wrong with the girl. Is she really to educated for her own good? Is her father just tired of having to deal with her? Is the famous statue truly gone? Stolen? burned?
In this story we learn more about the class distinction between the Middle Eastern men and women. We also learn that despite traditions of centuries , one can find true love even under the direst of circumstances. I do not want to spoil any of the mystery for you, but there are some real surprises at the unfolding of the truth, making this story one that will make sense during the after discussion or on the ride home. We all know that Iraq is indeed a war zone. In fact, that is what all the Spike Lee stir was last week when he announced the shooting of a new film in Chicago called “Chiraq” indicating that our neighborhoods can be compared to this country. Like this, we only know a part of the story and this play may cause you to look a bit deeper into the world of these people. Not those who want war, but those who want life!
“Inana” was the Goddess of Love, sex, nature, war, fertility and healing for the people of Mesopotamia (aka Ishtar, Shaushka, Ninlil and Mullissu) and when the invasions of 2003 took place, the proud leaders attempted to take all the art treasures to safe places. This is just one of those stories, and one that may just make you care for the people that lived, and survived, through this ordeal. You can see for yourself at Timeline Theatre located at 615 West Wellington (just West of Broadway) through July 26th with performances as follows:
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.
June 23rd and June 30th performances 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 28th NO SHOW
Saturday July 4th NO 8 p.m. show
Tickets range from $39- $52 and are available at the box office phone 773-281-8463 or online at www.timelinetheatre.com
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Inana”.
Parking is available at a discount at Standard Parking garage at Broadway Center 2846 N. Broadway, Century Mall 2836 N. Clark Street