Knight and Venora Set for Ensler's Targets at OB's Variety Arts, Feb. 14

News   Knight and Venora Set for Ensler's Targets at OB's Variety Arts, Feb. 14 Eve Ensler's latest work, Necessary Targets, which debuted at CT's Hartford Stage, will follow in the footsteps of the now famous The Vagina Monologues and find a home Off-Broadway. Producers Harriet Leve and Willa Shalit will bring the Bosnia-based, socio-political drama to Off-Broadway's Variety Arts, starting Feb. 14.

Eve Ensler's latest work, Necessary Targets, which debuted at CT's Hartford Stage, will follow in the footsteps of the now famous The Vagina Monologues and find a home Off-Broadway. Producers Harriet Leve and Willa Shalit will bring the Bosnia-based, socio-political drama to Off-Broadway's Variety Arts, starting Feb. 14.

The Hartford cast included 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), Sally Parrish (who took over for Rosemary Murphy in rehearsals) (Azra), Marika Dominczyk (Seada) and Maria Thayer (Nuna). Michael Wilson directed.

The producers have been negotiating to bring the Hartford cast to Off Broadway, and they've already succeeded in at least two instances: Knight and Venora will repeat their roles in the New York mounting, which opens Feb. 28. Further casting is expected shortly. Designing the show are Howell Binkley (lighting), Jeff Cowie (set), John Gromada (sound) and Susan Hilferty (costumes).

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.

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 once played Hamlet herself) and opposite Kelsey Grammer in Macbeth, and Murphy was last seen as one of the theatrical retirees in Noel Coward's Waiting in the Wings. For tickets ($60) and information on Necessary Targets at the Variety Arts Theatre, 110 Third Ave., call (212) 239-6200.

— By David Lefkowitz
and Robert Simonson