The third winner of the Yale Drama Series competition for emerging playwrights—a haunting and provocative imagining of the reunion, years later, of a Guantánamo detainee and the female interrogator who tortured him
It’s been fifteen years since Guantánamo, fifteen years since Bashir last saw his U.S. Army interrogator, Alice. Bashir is now dying of a disease of the liver, an organ that he believes is the home of the soul. He tracks down Alice in Texas and demands that she donate half her liver as restitution for the damage wrought during her interrogations.
But Alice doesn’t remember Bashir; a PTSD pill trial she participated in while in the army has left her without any memory of her time there. It is only when her inquisitive fourteen-year-old daughter begins her own investigation that the fragile peace of mind that Alice’s drug-induced oblivion enabled begins to falter.
Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s powerful drama asks important and difficult questions: Is guilt a necessary form of moral reckoning, or is it an obstacle to be overcome? Will the price of our national political amnesia be paid only by the next generation—the daughters and sons who were never there?
Upon awarding the prize, David Hare wrote, “We admired the play because—although it was stylishly written, although the governing metaphor and basic realism were held in a fine balance—it also recalled the political urgency which had propelled a previous generation of writers into the theatre in the first place.”
Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig holds an MFA from the James Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, Austin. She was raised in Taipei, Okinawa, Virginia, and Beijing.
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