Eve Ensler's latest work, Necessary Targets, now playing Hartford Stage, may follow in the footsteps of the now famous The Vagina Monologues and find a home Off Broadway. Producers Harriet Leve and Willa Shalit are hoping to bring the drama to Off-Broadway sometime in the next year.
Targets is based on interviews Ensler conducted, Anna Devere Smith-like, with women who survived the atrocities and warfare which reigned during the 1990s in the states which made up the former Yugoslavia — a conflict which was known for the use of sexual violence against women as a war tactic. From these conversations, Ensler shaped a drama about two American women who, somewhat like the playwright herself, travel to Bosnia to help female victims confront their experiences. One character is a Park Avenue psychiatrist, the other a young writer. Targets was developed in Hartford Stage's Brand:NEW festival.
The Hartford cast includes Shirley Knight (as J.S.) and Catherine Kellner (Melissa). Filling the roles of the Bosnian people they interview are Diane Venora (Zlata), Alyssa Bresnahan (Jelena), Rosemary Murphy (Azra), Marika Dominczyk (Seada) and Maria Thayer (Nuna). Michael Wilson directs. The production runs through Dec. 23 and will not be extended due to Hartford Stage scheduling constraints.
Leve and Shalat hope to keep the Hartford cast intact. Knight is a veteran of The Vagina Monologues and also appeared on Broadway in Horton Foote's The Young Man From Atlanta, while Venora starred opposite Liev Schreiber in Hamlet and Kelsey Grammer in Macbeth, and Murphy was last seen as one of the theatrical retirees in Noel Coward's Waiting in the Wings.
—By Robert Simonson