'Beneath the Veil' play looks at women's rights in Middle Eastern countries
The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Zahra Kazemi lies in a grave in Iran, far from her beloved son in Canada, controversy still swirling around her death in an Iranian prison seven years ago.

Mary Apick wants to make sure no one forgets her - or any other woman like her.

Kazemi, who a witness says was tortured to death in 2003 after being detained for photographing a demonstration, is highlighted in Apick's play, "Beneath the Veil," which makes its Canadian debut at Toronto's MacMillan Theatre on April 10.

"Zahra was the main motivation for me to do this play," says Apick, an Iranian actress who now lives in the United States, explaining she was "very much affected" by her death.

The play has already been staged at the Kennedy Center in Washington with former First Lady Laura Bush as its honorary chairwoman. The audience included Queen Noor of Jordan and the Empress of Iran.

It heads to the Lincoln Center in New York after its one-night Toronto stand and Apick hopes to bring it to other cities in Canada.

Apick, a women's rights activist, fled Iran in 1978 just as the Iranian revolution exploded. She has never been back.

Her play is told from the viewpoint of an American journalist who's writing an article and falls asleep in her bedroom only to have the people she's researching come to life.

"Each has a story to tell," Apick said in an interview. "All these stories become her voice and the voice of the women of the world."

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