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Necessary Targets staged as a Benefit in Pakistan

06/12/2009

On June 12th, Nighat Imran Rizvi, a V-Day activist who produced Pakistan’s premier production of The Vagina Monologues in 2003, produced and directed a reading of Eve’s play "Necessary Targets" in Islamabad. Following is an update from Nighat:

A group of volunteers – all of them involved in theatre or similar activities at one time – got together at the call of Nighat Imran Rizvi, an activist working on gender and HIV&AIDS for the past 16 years, with a portfolio in media (chat shows; interviews; production and direction of documentaries) to raise funds for women and children in IDP camps channeled through the Rural Support Programme Network (RSPN). The event, a play reading of Eve Ensler’s Necessary Targets was held at the National Library Auditorium (the venue courtesy Alice Shackleford and Paul Stephen Brant) and was well. At least 50% of the audience was made up of the younger generation while the ushers and anchorperson (Tanya Shah) were also young, confident and happy to be a part of this effort.

Two messages encouraging the team effort came by email - the first from the author who said, “This is an utterly wonderful and necessary idea. Let me know if there is anything we can do to support you. You have our blessings permission and most of all our love,” and the second from Hibaaq Osman, Chair of Karama, “Wishing you all the best and I could not think of a more deserving cause, it is timely and just.”

Before the play reading began the Green Ribbon campaign - which is a plea to all Pakistani citizens to ‘support your troops; support your nation and support the Pakistan that Jinnah created’ was launched with the presentation of green ribbons and a few words by Iram Naqvi, who said it is an initiative started by private citizens who want to unite the nation in their support for our troops.

CEO RSPN, Shahndana Khan then came on to say a few words about her organization which is a platform for nine rural support programmes (RSP) of Pakistan and undertakes policy advocacy; strategic guidance; capacity building; and sharing of best practice between RSP and other stakeholders.

The event began with a thought provoking prose and poetry rendition by Amer Durrani, who is currently working on writing a book. The excerpts were taken from his work.

The play reading began with an introduction of those who were taking part – Bettina Schunter an ex-theatre junkie and HIV activist who has been living in Pakistan for the past four years; Sadia Hyat, actor/anchor/social worker, who has studied acting from Vancouver Film School and worked in plays and films. She volunteers for Amnesty International; Carmen Lane has been visiting Pakistan for various projects since 2005 and has been a full time resident for the past year; Zainab Omar, editor-at-large for a business magazine and has also hosted a show ‘Zainab Can’t Cook;’ Malika Zafar who is pursuing a career in acting (her emotion filled reading of her part was an indication she will be a success at this) while learning classical music and dance and yours truly. The descriptive narrative was by read by Aamir Masood, a lawyer by profession and a musician and writer by passion. He has acted on stage with various theatre groups in Karachi. The stage had been set up as a refugee camp.

Eve Ensler’s story is about two American women, a Park Avenue psychiatrist, Melissa and a human rights worker JS, who go to Bosnia to help women confront their memories of war and emerge deeply changed themselves. Melissa and J.S. have nothing in common beyond the methods they have been taught to distance themselves from other people. As J.S. begins to feel compassion for the women whose tragedies she has been sent to expose, she turns on Melissa, who finds safety in control. In an unexpected moment of revelation, J.S. and the women she is supposedly treating find a common ground, a place to be taught and a place to learn.

In conclusion Nighat, who produced and directed the reading, thanked Nisar Malik (sponsoring sound and light) KZR (logistical ans organisational support) Nadeem Qureshi (ticket printing) Abid Naqvi and the many outlets who helped with ticket sales. Asmat Jaffer; Nabeela Ajaz; Asma Rashid; Iram Naqvi; Neelam Saleem; Komi Azizullah; Noshi Qadir for their help and support.