Published: 18/09/2015 14:46 - Updated: 18/09/2015 14:55

The names have been changed, the story is real

Rehanna MacDonald as Gaby/Ghazala and Umar Ahmed as Farhan in 'My Name Is...'
Rehanna MacDonald as Gaby/Ghazala and Umar Ahmed as Farhan in 'My Name Is...'

IN 2006, 12-year old Stornoway schoolgirl Molly Campbell made headlines around the world when she walked out of school and did not return.

Newspapers raised fear that she had been abducted by her Pakistani father Sajad Rana and would be forced into marriage, but just days later, Molly and her father held a press conference in Lahore where she declared she had left Scotland voluntarily and now wished to be known by her Muslim name, Misbah.

Almost a decade on and those events and the experiences of Molly, her father and her Scottish mother Louise are retold in Sudha Bhuchar’s play My Name Is..., which embarks on a Scottish tour following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, including a performance in Molly’s old home town of Stornoway.

"It’s been quite a journey because I did the interviews in 2008," Bhuchar said.

"Because it’s a real story and they are real people, I’ve found it’s taken me a long time to write. They have already been through manipulation by the media and I didn’t want to contribute to that."

Initially Bhuchar had intended to write a largely fictional piece based more loosely on the family’s experiences, but finally decided that their own testimonies were the most powerful way of addressing the issues involved.

"The family have seen it — and Louise is coming to see it again in Stornoway — and they have found it an accurate representation of what they have been through and they have been really touched by it," Bhuchar said.

"I’m actually looking forward to Stornoway because I haven’t been back since 2008 when I did the interview there, and I hope people will respond to it in the way they have up until now."

Although the play is based on the testimonies of the family themselves, names have been changed, with Molly/Misbah now Gaby/Ghazala, Sajad now Farham and Louise renamed Suzy.

"I did that mainly because it has become a play," Bhuchar explained.

"It’s not a documentary about them. Using different names makes it at one remove and I think that works well."

Bhuchar was also careful not to take sides.

"The media had already done that, then did this huge u-turn and went from ‘Fundamentalist father kidnaps girl’ to ‘Unfit mother’. You had all the stereotypes there and swing from one to the other without knowing whose side to be on," Bhuchar said.

"I wanted to give everyone their point of view and that’s what makes it theatrical, if you like. They invade each other’s stories."

My Name Is... is at the OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court, on Sunday 20th September at 7.30pm.

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