Woman of my Dreams was written to give voice to millions of women around the world who have been marginalised in the debate on female genital cutting. To be regarded as damaged for a cultural practice, and then abandoned, has done their identity no favours. Nor to their relationships with men they love because no woman, neither black, brown nor white, is free from sexual tyranny.
This play equates all women. Perhaps it is part of fourth wave feminism that draws no distinctions between races in the search for dignity.
And though we are concerned with western hegemony and the ignorance of legislating bodies that compound injustice, in this play we have been careful to walk the fine line between understanding, anger and condemnation of female circumcision and do not wish to be drawn into that argument. We have simply tried, with all our humanity, to draw attention to a woman’s predicament, and to the lay of the land in the unknown territory of her heart.
Anthony Fleming has appeared in various feature films, plays and commercials as well as audio productions.He is currently in working in a production with Ray Shell ( Starlight Express ,Officer and a Gentleman)and Nicky Matthews.
Anthony appears courtesy of AL Management Manchester.
A Singer-songwriter, poet, DJ, broadcaster and vocal coach, Geli has been working in culturally diverse arts for over 20 years. Until recently she was a member of Manchester International Festival’s Sacred Sounds Choir and Amani African Community Choir.
In 2012-13, Geli devised and produced Behind the Silken Veil a mixed media dance production in in collaboration with dancers from India, Uzbekistan and Morocco for which she also worked as an sound designer and narrator.
This is Geli’s first professional acting role.
Dennis Gerald is a spiritual, mistake-making, externally ambiguous, internally fragile, mum-loving global being. An experienced presenter, Dennis produced a magazine programme on local radio for 10-years.
In recent years, Dennis, who is a professionally trained Voice Over Artist, has been cast for numerous mature modelling roles. And either as a supporting artist or indeed a lead actor Dennis’s body of on-screen dramatic work, continues to grow.
Seki Williams has always had a passion for performing, whether it was live on stage, in front of a camera, or just among friends. She enjoys the feelings and emotions that can be portrayed within performing, whether through dance, written word or musical performance. On account of a strict upbringing, she has only recently managed to break free of a strict upbringing and been able to follow her passion. Playing the role of Jada, has awarded her a new-found confidence in her craft.
Sarah Sayeed is an actor, writer, composer and musician with over 15 years of experience working collaboratively with a range of artists. Her acting credits include East London West Sydney directed by Jonzi D for the Sydney Festival, MADE with Target Theatre Company and All at Sea for the BBC. Sarah is currently Experimentor Artist with the New Art Exchange.
Writing commissions include her first full length play -Descent with David Calcutt (Midland Actors Centre), My Heroes are Behind Me for BBC Radio 5 (The Verb) and Song for Sophia (Durham Book Festival).
Sarahs musical work includes commission by West End musical composer Kuljit Bhamra and Sound and Music to write Found. Sarah is currently composer and musical director for Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto's new version of Tartuffe at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Actor and audiobook narrator, Gareth Bennett-Ryan, trained at Birmingham School of Acting. His acting credits are extensive and include UK and Ireland tours of Private Lives and The Birthday Party (London Classic Theatre); Macbeth, As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe); The History Boys and Macbeth (Colchester Mercury); Dick Whittington and Mother Goose (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds); Antony and Cleopatra and Much Ado About Nothing (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival) and NewsRevue - the world’s longest running comedy sketch show. His many screen credits include: Shakespeare Uncovered, Word on the Street (BBC); Mercenaries (ABC); and Hate Story 4 (T-Series, Bollywood).
Fereshteh is a multidisciplinary artist. She has appeared in plays and films and she has written and performed her solo shows and poetry in venues and festivals across the country. Her short stories and plays have appeared in anthologies in Farsi and English. She is creative director of Sheba Arts.
Rashida Mustafa is a psychologist, writer and teacher, published in Indian journalism and the International PEN. She has won several awards for her writing, and for her work in learning technologies.
She has worked extensively with migrant communities in the UK and commissioned to make films about them with EU and public sector funding.
In 2010, Mira Nair, renowned Hollywood director, made a short film about her, which she co-wrote, called How Can it Be, in an international series on films about women.
Rashida Mustafa’s Woman of my dreams
POSTED BY FUSSY TONGUE ON FEBRUARY 11, 2019 IN EXPLORING THE ARTS, REFLECTING LIFE | 3
Rashida Mustafa’s Woman of my dreams was announced as a controversial
new musical theatre production. Yet, it is written less to be so than to spark
a much needed discussion around FGC/M, Female Genital Cutting /
Watching the play among an invited audience of legal, cultural and medical
specialists, as part of the annual festival of the North West’s creative talents
at Home, Manchester, I realised how tightly woven the subject was into the
different cultures and lateral subjects and their clashing into one another for
the better and the worse. One must admired the intimidatingly mammoth
task that the writer set for herself and from which, at every point of
legitimate temptation, she did not back out.
The press release speaks of a debate around the cultural and sexual
implications of FGC but this is vertiginously so much more, as if the apparent
main theme is only a metaphor, as one of the actors suggested, for a deeper
The work speaks beyond the words of its award-winning writer, Mumbai-born
clinical and psychoanalytic psychologist Rashida Mustafa. It is raw,
unapologetic at speaking its facts, using the language that, as her son urged
her, expresses the play rather than her own more pulled back language.
To be inspired by the world and still be able to keep one’s voice, to be
exposing tearing and still be able to keep one’s calm, to be expected to
channel the fashionable and politically correct and yet voice as impartial an
observation as is possible alongside the factual results of study, (and for the
actors in such controversial roles) to have your skin crawl at some of the
sentences that needed exposing and yet deliver them convincingly against
your feelings to betray that truth, to give your audience a seat and tremor
its grounds, is what the script-in-hand showing was executing all at once.
Imagine this. Your voice is muffled, your concerns ignored, your matter
binned, your message buried deep back within you… Over and over
again.. And there, suddenly, like a seed deeply sown, your message rises
from within and speaks of the pain that gnaws at our guts. It politicallyincorrectly
lifts the veils that protect the embarrassing truths. It says that we
don’t need to respond to life as a constant uncoordinated reflex of survival.
We can as, human beings, higher than jungle survivors, think, reflect,
address and beyond plastering wounds with marketing money and
propaganda, find the source and fix it.
Breaking through the sometimes involuntary barriers that the necessities of
belonging sets as a duty is a feat on its own. But to speak of the taboos, to
dare bring some fresh air in the many closed rooms of the shut down minds
of the oppressing groups, conveniently confusing tradition with unnatural
selection is going to poke at some set minds (or is it mindsets). There is a
lot to fix in a world painted white to cover the cut, bleeding and broken
hearts, minds and skins.
To speak of these things beyond time, race, religion and gender, even though
expressed within these, showcases them as human issues. After all, the
woman I would want to be is the world I would want to live in.
As a consequence, even more expectations were raised for the completion
of this work-in-progress after the post.
We really want you to join us. We don't have tickets on sale as yet, but if you send us an email, we will make sure you know when we put them out there.
M15 4FN, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom