Arts, Culture & Media

George packer's Betrayed

In the summer of 2006, George Packer read a leaked cable from an anonymous US official in Baghdad, sent to Washington. Packer said it described the bleak situation of the Iraqis in that official's staff, how they hid their identities, if their was an evacuation plan for them. So Packer went in search of those Iraqis and others like them in Jordan, Syria and elsewhere. He tried to understand what the arrival of the Americans meant to these English speakers. The message was the same: tons of hope, then tons of disillusionment and then feelings of abandon and betrayal. Because they worked for the US, these workers were targets of insurgents. Most of these workers have not received security from the US. Packer published an article in the New Yorker Magazine based on his findings, but after writing it the subject was not exhausted. That's a moment from the play. Packer found writing for theatre was different than journalism, and he focused on the relationship between the audience and the actors. The original script felt more at home in journalism than on stage. For instance there was an on stage interview. The show's director speaks about how they decided to cut the interviewer figure, the Packer surrogate. The director says at that point it became fully realized. One of the key struggles is the struggle to get security for the Iraqi employees. in this scene, a young American diplomat pleads with a higher up official. [clip from play]. �Betrayed� isn't a piece of political theatre and Packer tries to focus on the characters so the issues on stage aren't one-dimensional. The play ends with a moment of reflection from one of the translators and the character says he still dreams of America.

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