The Subversive Theatre Collective:

2002-2017: Now in Year #14 of our Kamikaze Journey!
Subversive Theatre: Where pissing you off is only the beginning

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   "Producing theater is always a struggle for a culture of meaning.  Most theater teaches the values of the ruling class.  Political theater should be held to the same standards of entertainment as other theater, but we should dramatize the struggles of ordinary people.
   "We should deal with the passions and problems of most of this country -- workers, women, student activists -- rather than the elite few."

-Obie Award-winning Playwright Maxine Klein
Click below for more info...
-- About the Author
-- About the Cast
-- About the Crew
-- About this Play's Production History
-- Directions to the Theatre
-- Return to the NECESSARY TARGETS Mainpage
-- Publicity Photos
-- Gusto Preview  4/2/10
-- Buffalo News Review  4/13/10
-- Interview with Eve Ensler
-- Historical Notes: Chronology of the Yugoslav Civil War
About the Brazen Faced Varlets

'Necessary Targets' has unfinished business

By Ted Hadley

Three Out of Four Stars!

"After the bombing, after the snipers, that's when the real war begins."

We probably shouldn't be surprised that playwright, sometime actress, feminist and activist Eve Ensler said the above, because the author of the ubiquitous "The Vagina Monologues" -- at recent count, translated into 45 languages and performed in more than 120 countries -- a funny, insightful, candid and topical play about body image and sexuality, is everywhere, it seems, when violence and women is the topic at hand.

Another Ensler work, "Necessary Targets," is a story about five Bosnian women refugees trying to salvage their lives after the carnage in that country after the mid-1990s internecine conflict.  "Targets" has just opened at the Manny Fried Playhouse, brought there by Subversive Theatre Collective.  A fine, seven-member ensemble has been gathered from Subversive's resident company, an energized group from Empire State College and three actresses from the Brazen Faced Varlets troupe.  Susan Forbes, well-traveled, with a bulging and impressive theatrical portfolio, directs.

Two American women counseling professionals, middle-aged J. S. -- lover of creature comforts, her suitcase full of designer clothes -- and twenty-something Melissa, full of what we call "attitude" today but acting in a way my grandmother would have called "snippy" -- have been sent to Bosnia to help a group of woman refugees "cope," to hear their stories of rape, depression, homelessness, poverty and starvation, to somehow balance reality and hope, all without patronizing and coming across as ugly Americans.

First sessions do not go well. J. S. can't disguise her pampered lifestyle; Melissa is pushy and can't resist shrink-speak.  After a few horrific disclosures by one of the women, Melissa says, "It's OK to cry."  Big help.  "So, this is American therapy?" the women say.  "Seems like another terrible day to me," says old Azra.

Gradually, though, we do hear their stories. J. S. learns much about herself, lessons taught by the wise Ziata [sic], once a medical doctor, left to wonder about her once-beautiful Bosnia, longing to be "reminded of how often we laughed and how safe we felt."

It is Ziata [sic] who counsels.  Trying to explain how the war happened, she speaks of "cruelty and stupidity being quick and immediate."  J. S. bonds. Melissa, resisting involvement, runs off to another war-torn spot before she might take her own advice and shed a tear.

You would have to be part statue if you didn't come to care for Ziata [sic], Azra, the terribly abused Seada, the earthy Jelena and the fantasizing Nuna. Yet, there is much more to be said, and "Necessary Targets" seems unfinished.  Uncharacteristically, Ensler ran out of words.

The ensemble is laudable: Jane Cudmore, Brittany Kucala, Lara Haberberger, Heather Fangsrud, Theresa DiMuro-Wilber, Kelly Beuth, potent as the sad Seada; and Martha Rothkopf, acidic and amiable at once as Ziata [sic], take home the night's honors.

Theater Review

"Necessary Targets"

Drama at Subversive Theatre Collective, Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow, third floor. Through April 30. Call 408-0499 for info or

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