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APRIL 2016


and beat me over my head. I thought

they were going to kill me. They took me

away.”These are the stirring words of the

play’s main character, Neda, as she pleads

for asylum from a country where her

village has been pillaged, her loved ones

murdered, and her own emotional and

physical well-being severely violated.

The country setting is never revealed

in this 75-minute drama, an intentional

omission to underscore how truly wide-

spread this phenomenon is. According

to the play’s writer and director, Luigi

Laraia, Neda represents the one-in-

three-women who experience physical or

sexual abuse in their lifetime.

“I wanted to create a stage produc-

tion that was ferociously real, to the

point of being unbearable, just as gender

violence is,” says Laraia. Hats off to Laraia

and his cast, local D.C. actors Richard

Tanenbaum, Karen Lawrence and Sean

Gabbert, for doing just that.

The play picked up steam in 2015 and

has now been performed at the Johns

Hopkins School of Advanced International

Studies, George Mason University’s Center

for the Study of Gender and Conflict, a

Vital Voices event, Washington, D.C.’s

Capital Fringe Fest 2015, the United

Nations in New York, the Kenyatta Inter-

national Convention Centre and the U.N.

headquarters for Africa in

Nairobi and the Frauenmu-

seum (Women’s Museum)

in Bonn. Its most recent

showing was onMarch 31 at

the HarrisTheater in Fairfax,


With a panel discussion

after each performance,

“Neda Wants to Die” has

proven a useful tool for

inspiring open and frank

discussion about gender-

based violence.

—Maria C. Livingston,

Director of Professional Policy Issues

State Ranks Second in

Customer Satisfaction



he results are in for the annual

American Customer Satisfaction

Index, and Americans are less satis-

fied with the services their government

provides for the third consecutive year.

The federal government scored 63.9 on a

customer satisfaction scale of 0 to 100, a

nine-year low.

Despite the overall negative rating,

there was improvement in several spe-

cific areas. One was “clarity and acces-

sibility of information conveyed by the

government,” and another was “efficiency

of services provided.”

As far as the individual departments

are concerned, Interior received the

highest rating, with 75, while the depart-

ments of Veterans Affairs, Justice and

Treasury received the lowest, at 60, 59

and 55, respectively.

With a score of 71, the State Depart-

ment came in second out of 13 depart-

ments rated, followed by the departments

of Defense and Homeland Security.


Shannon Mizzi,

Editorial Assistant

“Neda Wants to Die” cast members, from left: Karen

Lawrence, Sean Gabbert and Richard Tanenbaum.