The Arranged: We did it! | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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The Arranged: We did it!

Monday, July 27, 2015 - 17:30

Student blog by Mahdi Murad


It was December 20 when I published an article on the AUIS website promising to bring The Arranged to the stage. At that time, I had not written a single word of the play. I was afraid that I would not be able to keep my promise, but as soon as I saw my article published on the website, I started writing The Arranged.

“Are you still awake?” asked my mother when she woke up for Fajir prayer. That was the question my mother asked me every single morning for two weeks. During those two weeks, I was awake until 4:00 am every night, doing nothing but writing the play. Was that all I did? Of course not! The second week of my winter break was the same story, re-writing, re-writing, and re-writing The Arranged. Several times, I time changed almost every single scene of the play. Luckily, I wrote the whole play during those two weeks.  After that, I wondered if I could call myself a playwright. “Of course, not.” I told myself, as I knew there was still a lot that I had to do to be considered a playwright.

“I don’t like this play, but I love it,” was the first sentence I heard from Peter Friedrich, the head of AUIS Drama and Film, who was the first person who saw and read the play. Thus, I was encouraged not to quit, but work hard to make The Arranged happen. Friedrich was the one who inspired me to achieve what I have achieved so far.

After Friedrich, The Arranged cast was the second group of people who supported me to be where I am now. Obviously, I would be selfish if I gave the whole credit of The Arranged to myself. The cast members were the ones who were very influential to bring the play to stage. Anytime I saw how enthusiastic they were about the play, I could imagine how successful itwould be. I never felt tired or bored working on the play, despite of the limited time we had to prepare and the number of classes and assignments I had. Was I the only one who was so busy? Well, of course not. It was the same story for every single member of the cast and crew. It was inspiring to see the cast members running to B-B1-11, trying not to be late for the rehearsals right after they finished up with their classes. No matter how tired they were and how many classes they had, and how a long day they experienced, they didn’t feel tired once the rehearsal begun.

April 19, after I saw giant posters of The Arranged all around campus, I realized that the play was worth much more than the time and effort I had devoted. Just by looking at the posters and reading the words, “The Arranged, by Mahdi Murad,” I totally forgot all the difficulties I had faced so farLast year, almost at the time, there was a similar poster hanging at the same place where The Arranged poster is. But that poster was completely different. It read, “Noor, by Akbar Ahmed,” and I was one of the cast members. For this year, it said, “The Arranged, by Mahdi Murad,” and I am the playwright. What a wonderful feeling!

The premier of The Arranged brought all sorts of feelings to my life. It was a day when I cried, laughed, shouted, and clapped. It was great to see how a group of talented students worked with my script and showed every single word I wrote in ways that I had not even thought about. All I can say now, after the first show of The Arranged, is that I owe such a group of talented actors and actresses so much for their support and for so clearly and remarkably showing what I have put on the paper. Moreover, the entire cast and crew owes gratitude to the audience. It was outstanding to see not only the seats but also the stairs booked and buried by people. So, on behalf of the crew, I thank everyone, students, faculty and staff members, who attended the opening night of The Arranged.

Last but not least, I thank everyone who helped us stand in a position where we are now. Thank you for your support that encouraged us to think of what will our next projects be, even before the closing night of The Arranged.

I am so happy to invite the AUIS community to the second performance and the closing night of The Arranged on Monday, April 29thI look forward to seeing the theater as full of people as it was for the premiere.