ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Targets investigates harsh reality
Directed by: Mindy Blinkhorn
Starring: Julia Webb, Virginia Pratten, Sookie Mei, Lucy Williams, Lil Malinich,
Claire Porter-Martin and Kristen Finley
By Ash Wittig
Gazette file photo
THESE CHICKS ARE TOUGH... DAMN TOUGH. The
cast of Necessary Targets take on Bosnia in Eve Ensler's latest
Necessary Targets is the story of Bosnian refugee women who are
slowly being mentally healed by two American psychiatrists who
differ greatly in their tactics.
Written by Eve Ensler, the play takes place in a refugee camp for
Bosnian women who have survived the onslaught of war in their home
country. JS and Melissa are two psychiatrists from North America
who have travelled far to help heal and learn from five Bosnian
women driven from their homeland and for whom unspeakable horrors
fill their thoughts and dreams.
JS and Melissa, played by Julia Webb and Sookie Mei, are constantly
at odds with one another. Melissa is young, field-experienced and
hungry for information to write about in her book; JS is older,
comfortable in her private practice and has grown accustomed to
North American comforts.
The five Bosnian women all differ greatly: Azra (Lucy Williams)
only wishes to go back to her home so she can die; Jelena (Lil
Malinich) sees drunken debauchery as her only method of escape;
Nuna (Kristen Finley) is a young girl obsessed with America; Seada
(Claire Porter-Martin) lives in a world of denial that leads to
delusions and finally, Zlata (Virginia Pratten), once a doctor
herself, proves to be the most difficult and yet most rewarding.
The most interesting relationship is the one between the two older
women, JS the psychiatrist and Zlata the Bosnian doctor. In the
group, they are strained towards each other, but find the other
more easily approachable outside of therapy. They level with one
another, even though they are from two opposite worlds and begin
to realize they are not so different after all.
The cast is made up of seven women, but this is perfect because
too many players would have detracted from the story. The acting
is absolutely wonderful — to the point where you forget where
you are and are suddenly jolted back into reality. However, the
clinch is this is reality and the realization of this is steps
away from devastating. The lives these once wealthy women now lead — sleeping
in pigs’ beds — is more than enough to send you home
with a deeper respect of our North American privileges.
The set design allows you to see all the actors at once; even if
they are not in the scene, they are off in the background behind
thin sheets, talking and going about their business as if no one
were watching. There are only a few simple props with four wooden
pieces of furniture moved around strategically in between scenes.
The story is quite refreshing once you get into it. There is no
forced love story, no violence and in fact, no solid ending. The
only thing lacking is the finish, which is a bit disappointing
since in its entirety the play is quite enthralling. The audience
is left hanging, not quite sure what really happens to any of the
characters it has grown to actually care about. The issues that
do get resolved seem to take little time, but this can easily be
chalked up to time constraints as the play is one hour and 15 minutes
Necessary Targets simultaneously shows the pure strength and raw
tenderness of women. They remain strong for one another while lending
their shoulders to cry upon. Ensler’s play provides a brief
glimpse into the reality we hardly get a chance to experience — and
one which many choose to ignore.