Arts Preview
5:59 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Muslim Undergarments, 'Slut Energy' At New Broward College Drama Series

Aizzah Fatima will perform "Dirty Paki Lingerie" at Broward College.
Aizzah Fatima will perform "Dirty Paki Lingerie" at Broward College.
Credit Aizzah Fatima

Thought-provoking cultural experiences have made their way to Pembroke Pines.

In September of 2013, Broward College launched an arts and cultural initiative on its Pembroke Pines campus, which operates as one of three campuses functioning as separate entities. This young program is also referred to as "B.SOCA," or Broward College South Campus Office of Cultural Affairs.

Led by director Lamar Lovelace,  B.SOCA features a calendar of live music, art exhibitions, film screenings, and theater--but with a diversity twist. Lovelace says the core idea behind each event is to engage attendees with arts that present multicultural themes and issues.

Broward is home to a diverse populace. And the college wants to offer a place of innovation as diverse as its neighboring community. One offering that deeply deals with diversity struggles is the Overheard Series. This drama-arts presentation includes solo shows by four women.

Up next in the series is Rene Marie's "Slut Energy Theory" show at 8 p.m. on WednesdayFeb. 12. Marie wrote this play, which "addresses in an obtuse way that some women become 'sluts.' I use that word tongue-and-cheek," she says. "There are lots of strong reactions to the word. I've been told if I changed the name of the play I could perform it at different venues, but I don't want to change it."

Rene Marie portrays U'Dean.
Rene Marie portrays U'Dean.
Credit Photo credit: Alexis Miles

The story has little to do with sleeping around. Marie, a full-time jazz vocalist by trade, portrays the character U'Dean. The story is told by U'Dean after she has died, looking down at the earth and recalling the anguish she experienced. She's ageless. And she talks about her sexual abuse at the hands of her father.  She marries the pastor of her church, and lives a life filled with domestic violence. 

"U'Dean is not happy with what happened, but the show has lots of humor and is very intense," says Marie. "She looks at the positive side of her life, not just the bad that happened."

A Q&A with the audience and Marie still in character follows "Slut Energy."

"I've had some people say out loud [after seeing the show] for the first time that they were survivors of sexual abuse. I've had one mother stand up in tears saying she finally understood what her daughter went through. And men say they were molested," she says. 

Aizahh Fatima will perform her solo comedy show "Dirty Paki Lingerie" on March 17. This 60-minute performance, a pun on dirty laundry, features six characters' life stories based on interviews Fatima conducted. Each character is a Pakistani-American Muslim woman living in or around New York City. In the show, they are dealing with identity, sexuality, love, bullying and racial profiling. Their personal tales attempt to break down stereotypes.

"Another big thing the play deals with is religion versus culture," says Fatima. "I have one character, Selma, 22, who covers her hair. She's dealing with how intimate she wants to be with her fiancé. And she's trying to figure her life out -- does she stay with this guy who may or may not be right for her? Or does she pursue her dreams and go off to college?"

Fatima notes: Selma uses words such as "OMG" and "TMI" and "vagina."

Another character, Hiba, 55, is wavering on getting a divorce.

"She's grappling with what this means even though the lines of religion and culture are blurred. ... Culturally, it isn't acceptable in her family to get a divorce, but from a religious point of view it's OK to get a divorce," says Fatima.

Fatima was born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents. She lives in New York and has performed her solo show across the country and internationally.

"What I want to do with this play is show that Americans come from all shapes and sizes, and diverse backgrounds," Fatima says. "I want to share with everyone that there is this dual identity that exists -- there's Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans."

Here's a clip of her performance.

Visit B.SOCA.org for more information.