Noreen Quadir and Piyali Syam both identify as women of color and ethnicity, but both had the same middle-class American upbringing as Church. Pretty White Girl is part of the 2019 New York Theater Festival Summerfest; and a part of a larger project currently being developed.
In a play featuring such strong personalities and viewpoints, perhaps the most understated, Shabana, became a key facet. Noreen played the role of a quiet, unaware and scared wife. The facial expressions and innocence portrayed was beautiful, as were the climactic moments of power as she defended her lifestyle, but learned about others.
Set in Bangalore, India, in the aftermath of 9/11, the play portrays the unexpected encounter of two couples. The simple but resilient Haneef Pasha (portrayed with élan by Ram Kanneganti) and his demure, yet steadfast wife, Shabana Pasha (played with grace and verve by Noreen Quadir), are newly-arrived poor, Muslim migrants to the city from rural India.
Noreen discusses her acting process and her background in an interview with Indie Activity.
"I like my performance to be organic. So the preparing that I do is making sure I understand my character well, what’s going on in the scene, what my relationship with the other character is, how my character feels, what is their objective, and what is their obstacle. I also see what similar experiences and feelings I have that I can use. All of that helps me deliver my performance in the moment."