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The hijab or head covering, is sometimes worn by Muslim women. The play concerns one woman's decision and why she made it. (Submitted photo)

Wearing the hijab

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Before a 20-year-old Muslim-American woman decides whether or not to start wearing the traditional head cover (Hijab), she turns to the Internet for a variety of different opinions and advice.

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Kristin Noriega will play the role of that young woman, Rubiya, in the Mixed Blood Theatre production "Hijab Tube" to be performed at 2 p.m. Monday, April 26 at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Detroit Lakes.

The play will not only tell the story of Rubiya who will turn to YouTube for answers to her questions about wearing the hijab, but it will also be about self identification, Playwright Seema Sueko said.

Although it originated in a Muslim populated neighborhood where Mixed Blood Theatre is located, the play is meant to stir up some discussion about the Islamic culture in 21st Century America.

"We realized that for a non-Muslim audience and even among the Muslim community, this question of the hijab is a big sticking point," Sueko said.

As a Muslim-American herself, Sueko said the play has a special effect on Muslim women who have gone through similar experiences.

"If you lived this experience, some of the stories that are in the play may resonate at a deeper level," she said.

But for the non-Muslims, or for Muslim men who aren't required to wear the head covering, Sueko and Artistic Director Bill Partlan agree that the play will relate to them as well.

"There are students out there in various colleges, high schools and even middle schools, that may feel like they're alone in the world in a certain way, or that no one ever creates characters that reflect on their lives," Partlan said.

When the play was performed last year for the first time, a Filipino man's reaction wasn't that he related to the characters per se, but somehow he was reminded of his own struggles as a minority in America, Sueko said.

"How do you figure out how to be you in this world," she added is one of the discussion points that may arise from the play. "I think that's something everybody goes through at some point."

"Hijab Tube" is sponsored by the M State Student Senate and is open to community members as well as college students, staff and faculty. There is no admission charge, and the 45-minute play will be presented in Room C-101.

Partlan said although 45 minutes may not be long enough to go into much detail about the issues, it will encourage the audience to do their own research and give them an idea of what to look for.

"It is definitely theatrically enough time to make interesting points and get some controversy and some discussion points out there," he said.

Hijab Tube is one of six programs toured nationally by Mixed Blood Theatre.

Area performances will begin Monday at M State Wadena and Detroit Lakes and continue for the rest of the week at the University of Minnesota Crookston, Northland College in East Grand Forks, Lakes Region College in Devil's Lake N.D., high schools in Devil's Lake and Maple River, Minn. and the library in Belgrade, Minn. before returning to Minneapolis for a Saturday afternoon performance.

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