“When you see a woman who covers her hair, ‘she’s oppressed!’ That’s not the reality” – Aizzah Fatima
I guess the title gives the clue away for some, yet for others it still only provokes intrigue. Dirty Pakistani Lingerie – originally ‘Dirty Paki Lingerie’ in America – is coming to the Manchester as part of a 15-theatre UK Tour. And from what we have heard about this sell-out theatre production, we may as well go ahead and tell you it promises to be one of the most thought-provoking, myth-busting, eyebrow-raising shows to come to The Lowry this year.
Scheduled to arrive at The Lowry on 3 March 2016, the award-winning show was written by writer and performer Aizzah Fatima and is directed by Erica Gould. With ‘must-see’ reviews, Manchester residents ought to converge at The Studio at The Lowry on the day it arrives, if only to shake the writer’s hand for her bravery.
Producing what could spark tension – unintentionally, of course – and rile-up a community universally deemed as conservative, requires quite the guts; and Fatima has plenty of them, it seems.
“I wanted to tell stories of people you don’t usually see portrayed in theatre or film or TV and definitely not this way”, the writer told TNT.
Fatima’s play is about the stories of 6 Pakistani-American women air their Dirty Pakistani Lingerie in the show The Wall Street Journal says “Breaks down stereotypes of Muslim women in America”.
The writer performs all six characters, whose tales are all based on real stories from Muslim women she has personally heard or knows about. “A lot of times when people write about women who happen to be Muslim-American, or Muslim women in the West in general, it’s never really other Muslim women who are writing about them. It’s people who are outside of the culture and their view is not always accurate”, Fatima explained.
When asked about any backlash whilst producing the play, Fatima said that a lot of Muslims objected to it. “In America, the word lingerie is the problem. Paki doesn’t even mean anything in the US. And in Europe and Canada, the word Paki is an issue”, she said. For the UK Tour, the title of the play had to be changed to be mindful of sensibilities.
Gould, the Director of the play reiterated to TNT that it’s in the title where controversy lies. “In the Pakistani community, the culture can be quite conservative, so you have to be careful. However when we did the play in Edinburgh Fringe in 2012, we didn’t change the title from Paki to Pakistani”.
The Director’s visually stunning direction incorporates haunting movement and dreamlike projections, as well as razor-sharp physical comedy.
In Dirty Pakistani Lingerie, male and female audiences all over the world have found their own experiences reflected in the stories of these Pakistani-American women, which speak not only to a particular cultural moment, but to universal truths, theatricalised through the collaboration between a Muslim writer/performer (Fatima) and a Jewish director (Gould).
Intrigued? Well, so are we. Catch the play at The Lowry on 3 March at 8pm for £10 – £12.
TNT Entertainment Yasin Chinembiri