Necessary Targets

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Production dates: October 21, 1996
Venue: Helen Hayes Theatre
Directed by: Eve Ensler
Literature: Eve Ensler

Melissa (Anjelica Huston), an ambitious writer, and J.S. (Meryl Streep), a successful but unsatisfied middle-aged psychiatrist, have nothing in common beyond the methods they have been taught to distance themselves from other people. As J.S. begins to feel compassion for the women whose tragedies she has been sent to expose, she turns on Melissa, who finds safety in control. In an unexpected moment of revelation, J.S. and the women she is supposedly treating find a common ground, a place to be taught and a place to learn. Necessary Targets is a groundbreaking play about women and war - about the violence of dark memories and the enduring resilience of the human spirit.

Meryl Streep (J.S.), Anjelica Huston (Melissa)

“Necessary Targets” is an autobiographical play about an Upper East Side female pyschotherapist (portrayed by Streep) who travels to Bosnia to work with rape victims after the war. Targets explores the objectification of war victims, and playwright Ensler explains, “In the process of ‘saving’ them [the therapist] winds up being saved herself.” The reading is presented by The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children in association with the International Rescue Committee, to benefit women from Bosnia-Herzegovina and around the world.