Necessary Targets’ sheds light on refugee struggle

Necessary Targets sheds light on refugee struggle

by Katie AnthonyStaff Writer

It is a play of drama and despair, a history of warfare and a solid reality all in one.

Simpson’s theater department will perform “Necessary Targets” on Oct. 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1.

“Necessary Targets” is a play about the struggles of women following the Bosnian War that took place between 1992 and 1995. The war was noted as genocide, and women were forced into refugee camps. Later on, some of the women immigrated to the United States in hopes for a better life.

After recognizing the complexity of the play, director Ann Woldt, assistant professor of theater, looked to some of those very women for help.

“I knew right away that I was going to need help from some of the Bosnian women that are here,” Woldt said .

Woldt met and became good friends with Aldiana Ridoncic, a Bosnian woman who immigrated to Iowa in 1995.

Ridoncic willingly invited the cast into her home so they could get a real feel of what the women really went through. Ridoncic shared her story with the cast and taught them the song and dance that they will be performing.

“Her story is completely amazing,” freshman Jessica Drobot, who plays Bosnian refugee Jelena, said. “It was extremely educational to get to experience and learn about her culture first-hand.”

“Necessary Targets” also attempts to show the story of what women in Bosnia were forced to go through during this time, the conditions they had to live in and the ridicule that they were subjected to.

“What the play actually was about surprised me,” Woldt said. “What it is about is how they [the women] are tired about talking about their stories, that they are not their own tragedy. They are real women that have to live their life. They are real women that, to this day, still have to live their lives in the poor conditions in Bosnia.”

Woldt hopes to help Simpson students look past their, “comfortable life at Simpson.”

“This happened, and people cannot forget that this happened,” Woldt said.

The play covers a variety of emotions during its 75-minute run.

“This is a relatively short show that will inspire you, provoke you and make you laugh,” sophomore Erin Tracy, who plays psychiatrist J.S., said.

Tracy hopes that audience members come away from the play with a better sense of what others have gone through.

“I would like the audience to gain a sense of humanity for these people and what they went through,” Tracy said. “So many times we see these things happening in far-off countries and group the people all together as an event and then forget that these people are no different than us. I hope the audience will take inspiration from the way the women in this story have still retained their humanity, dignity and sense of humor despite the atrocities inflicted upon them in this war.”

While Tracy hopes this for the audience, fellow cast member Jennie Flinspach hopes everyone will simply make time to come see the play.

“‘Necessary Targets’ will make you cry, laugh and most of all, think,” Flinspach, who plays the Bosnian refugee Azra, said. “It’s impossible to passively observe this show. It burrows into your soul and mind. You will never look at war and refugees the same way again.”