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Peace Mom

U.S. peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who won wide attention with a vigil outside President George W. Bush`s ranch

U.S. peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who won wide attention with a vigil outside President George W. Bush`s ranch in the name of her soldier son killed in Iraq, is the subject of a new play by Nobel laureate Dario Fo.

"Peace Mom" received its world premiere in London on Saturday night, starring British actress Frances de la Tour, with both Sheehan and Italian dramatist Fo in the audience.

The one-woman show is based on extracts from Sheehans letters to Bush and other writings. De la Tour delivered the monologues beneath large pictures of Sheehans son Casey and a tank in the Iraqi desert in front of a plume of fire.

"Frances did such an amazing job of conveying my feelings of anger and betrayal," a tearful Sheehan said after the play.

She said she hoped the play would help "put a human face" on the war.

Sheehan, from Vacaville, California, has become one of the best-known figures calling for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq since she protested for several weeks outside Bushs ranch in Crawford, Texas, in August.

Bush has said he sympathises with Sheehan over the death of her son in 2004 but will not pull out U.S. forces. Some of his supporters have gone further, accusing her of being an advocate of surrender in the face of terrorism.

The play was rushed into production to conclude a day-long conference of activists opposed to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, with de la Tour reading some passages from a script.

Fo, the leftist playwright who won the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature, said his wife and artistic partner Franca Rame would star in a longer final version of the play in Italy.


(Reuters) - U.S. peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who won wide attention with a vigil outside

President George W. Bushs ranch in the name of her soldier son killed in

Iraq, is the subject of a new play by Nobel laureate

Dario Fo. 

Peace Mom -Dario Fo (& interpreter), director Michael Kustow, Cindy Sheehan and actress Frances de la Tour after the performance of Peace Mom

"Peace Mom" received its world premiere in London on Saturday night, starring British actress Frances de la Tour, with both Sheehan and Italian dramatist Fo in the audience.

The one-woman show is based on extracts from Sheehan`s letters to Bush and other writings. De la Tour delivered the monologues beneath large pictures of Sheehans son Casey and a tank in the Iraqi desert in front of a plume of fire.

"Frances did such an amazing job of conveying my feelings of anger and betrayal," a tearful Sheehan said after the play.

She said she hoped the play would help "put a human face" on the war.

Sheehan, from Vacaville, California, has become one of the best-known figures calling for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq since she protested for several weeks outside Bushs ranch in Crawford, Texas, in August.

Bush has said he sympathizes with Sheehan over the death of her son in 2004 but will not pull out U.S. forces. Some of his supporters have gone further, accusing her of being an advocate of surrender in the face of terrorism.

The play was rushed into production to conclude a day-long conference of activists opposed to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, with de la Tour reading some passages from a script.

Fo, the leftist playwright who won the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature, said his wife and artistic partner Franca Rame would star in a longer final version of the play in Italy.

Peace Mom

the world premiere of Peace Mom, a new play by Dario Fo, the 79-year-old Nobel laureate, based on the writings of Cindy Sheehan. Her touching and personal protest after the death of her son Casey, a US soldier in Iraq, has galvanised anti-war sentiment, and last week she brought her campaign to Britain.

Fo, with Franca Rame, his wife and collaborator, flew over for the performance, staged by Stop the War and directed by Michael Kustow. Why had he been attracted to the Sheehan story? "One of the things that grabbed me is that that there is an epic quality to the letters that Sheehan wrote to George Bush, and especially Barbara Bush," he said. "There is a rhythm and tempo in her prose which recalls the great epic writers of Greece. When she writes: I am the mother of a son killed in Iraq; you are the mother of the man who killed him, it is almost hendecasyllabic [the classical poetic metre].

"She has a gift of candour and directness and epic simplicity - Cindy may not know it but she is a born writer."

The play is a monologue, a tapestry of Sheehan`s letters to Bush and Fo`s invention. The actor Frances de la Tour performs with script in hand - this was billed as work-in-progress. Fo has been sending additions and revisions until the eleventh hour.

De la Tour`s rich contralto rings out; a contrast with Sheehan`s fluting, soft soprano. Sheehan sits in the audience next to Fo and Rame. Her usual beatific smile remains intact. But when de la Tour delivers the line: "About a month after his death I said to myself: I`ve had enough of crying for my own son, now Im going to cry for all mothers," her tears fall.

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