Dirty Pakistani Lingerie plays at The Old Rep today, so Love Midlands Theatre caught up with the show’s director, Erica Gould…
Erica, tell us a little about yourself...
I am a NYC-based director and dance and fight choreographer. I direct a lot of Shakespeare and classical plays, and music-theatre, and am also very interested in developing new work. I’m drawn to material that occupies a large theatrical canvas.
How did the concept of the show, 'Dirty Pakistani Lingerie', come about?
Aizzah and I are both very interested in giving voice to people whose stories are not always represented in a three-dimensional way in mainstream theatre and media. I think this can be a powerful enterprise both for people who see their own cultural background explored with honesty and integrity, and for those for whom such stories might seem to be far from themselves. I think that when people from other cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds find their own experiences reflected in the stories of people they might have otherwise assumed were profoundly different from them--that can be an incredibly powerful and profound experience.
I think humour can break down barriers and disarm—it is such an automatic, visceral, almost biological response, really--wired into us-- a truly universal language that overcomes barriers.
Do you find that the show has evolved since embarking on tour?
The show has certainly evolved since we first developed and performed it back in 2011. We have both grown as artists over that time, I think, and the piece has also changed in various ways in response to changes in the political climate. I think one of the elements that has been significant in the positive response to the piece is its universality. I don't think this is something Aizzah and I originally anticipated.
I think we have both been deeply affected by the response the work has received from audiences of such wide-ranging cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. I do believe that art can illuminate the universal through an honest exploration of the specific. And I think one of the primary universalities that the piece taps into is that of the American experience of "hyphenated" identity, the commonality of the immigrant journey, which is whether one's family has been here for five months or five generations. The piece explores the inherent tension between what has been left behind and what we take with us, between the impulse to assimilate, and the desire to maintain our identity, between what we hold onto and what we fear we may have forgotten. And more and more, I think this story is resonating deeply in Europe and the UK as well, as immigration here becomes increasingly more prominent in the cultural and political conversation.
What can the audience expect from the show?
To be entertained.
How would you describe the show in three words?
Funny, moving, thought-provoking.