September 2003. Rory Stewart, a thirty year old former British diplomat, is posted to serve as governor in a province of the newly liberated Iraq. His job is to help build a new civil society at peace with itself and its neighbours - an ambitious mission, admittedly, but outperforming Saddam should surely not prove too difficult…
Yet, freedom from repressive tyranny has allowed centuries of tribal conflict, sectarian tension and ethnic division to burst into the open once more. These sharp local realities plunge Stewart into a dangerous whirlpool of political intrigue in which the double-dealing of opposing interest groups creates intensifying confusion and chaos. As pressure for a settlement mounts from all sides he comes to realise that all politics is indeed local, and that Washington may have to rethink its dreams of Iraqi democracy.
Stephen Brown’s new play, based on Rory Stewart’s critically acclaimed memoir Occupational Hazards, tells an extraordinary story about the moral conflicts, the dangers and the comic absurdities inherent in any foreign occupation.
Brown scripted Filter Theatre’s sell-out hit Faster (BAC, London/Lyric Studio, London/UK tour/Frankfurt/59E59 Theater, New York). His play, Future Me, premiered at Theatre503 in London to wide acclaim, toured the UK and had US productions in Berkeley, CA and at the Public Theater, New York.
Simon Godwin makes his Hampstead directorial debut. His recent credits include Man and Superman, starring Ralph Fiennes and Strange Interlude, starring Anne Marie-Duff (both National Theatre).
Occupational Hazards is supported by The London Community Foundation & Cockayne – Grants for the Arts.
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