The simple goal of Eve Ensler’s “Necessary Targets” is to address violence and women. Weekend Theater’s timely production, however, delves further into the issue by asking the question, “How can one effectively provide aid to those who have been victimized by catastrophe?”
J.S. (Rebecca Burton) is a wealthy and well-established psychiatrist who has grown accustomed to the comforts of her upper-class lifestyle. Melissa (Felicia Richardson) has been working for the Army and has learned to deal with extreme physical and emotional pain. Unlike as they are, the two women travel to a refugee camp intending to make a positive difference in the lives of Bosnian women.
The black box theater provides an ideal space for the play. Director and designer Helene Rush has divided the stage into three areas, a tech-nique that serves to reveal the characters’ development as well as the progression of the action. On stage left is the personal sphere of the Americans; on stage right, the personal sphere of the Bosnians, and in a small area upstage, is the public sphere where moments of truth are expressed.
As the tension increases and personal boundaries begin to break down, J.S. discovers that empathy and common understanding satisfy an emotional need that is equally as important, if not more, for victims as monetary aid.
The actors in the refugee roles do well to steer clear of melodrama. Julie Atkins (as Seada) delicately portrays a character whose past traumas have left her mentally ill. Juliana Flinn (as Jelena) and Patti German (as Azra) form a sharp and endearing comedy team.
The content is heavy, but “Necessary Targets” does not drag along. The strong ensemble cast offers up short and tight scenes, for a satisfy-ing whole.
— By Jessica Sardashti