Play aims to air all its dirty lingerie in public

A scene from the play Dirty Pakistani Lingerie
A scene from the play Dirty Pakistani Lingerie
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An award-winning show which aims to break down stereotypes about Muslim women kicks off a tour in Lytham tomorrow night.

After sold-out performances across the world, Dirty Pakistani Lingerie has been described as a “must see production”.

And in a twist, audiences are asked to pay what they like for the performance.

After the performance at The Studio at The Lowry, Lowther Pavilion, the cast embark on a 15-theatre UK tour.

Written and performed by Aizzah Fatima and developed and directed by Erica Gould, who is Jewish, Dirty Pakistani Lingerie interweaves the stories of six Muslim–American women, all portrayed by Fatima in a virtuosic performance.

Drawing from real-life incidents and one-on-one interviews with Pakistani-American women, the show is both infectiously funny and deeply moving.

Gould’s direction incorporates dreamlike projections, as well as physical comedy.

Aizzah said: “I felt as if I was surrounded by all these amazing women who had remarkable stories to tell – first and second-generation immigrant women – who just happened to be Pakistani Americans.

“There was a human side to this experience of being a Muslim American woman that was completely missing in the media, completely 
missing in the types of characters we see in film, TV, or theatre”

The director added: “Dirty Pakistani Lingerie addresses the inherent tension between the impulse to assimilate and the desire to maintain one’s cultural identity, the tension between what we leave behind and what we take with us; between what we hold onto and what we fear we may have forgotten.”

The play was performed under a different title in America using an offensive term for people from Pakistan.

The decisions was made to retitle the play for its British dates to avoid causing offence.

Lowther general manager Roger McCann, whose initial intention was to stick with the original title, feels it is real coup for the theatre to be staging it – claiming it one of the most important productions to be staged there – and to illustrate his confidence in the production, there is no admission fee to see the play.

He said: “I thought about it long and hard and originally decided we should stick with the original title – it’s a play from America and that’s what it’s called.

“I felt we should confront the abusive and racist connotations the word has here and reclaim it for what it is – a description of people from Pakistan.

“Everybody I spoke to about the show took a sharp intake of breath but when I’d spoken to them, they understood and accepted the title for what it was.

“My problem arose when I decided that I wanted to do the show as a Pay What You Like’ performance.

“I believe it to be such an important play that I wanted nobody to be discouraged from attending, and taking away the financial burden would be one way of doing that.”

However, when Mr McCann discovered other venues hosting the play were reluctant to use the original title, he changed his mind.

* The show start at 7.30pm and tickets are available from the box office on 01253 794221 or visit www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk