After seeing seeing a half dozen solo shows featuring atrractive, articulate white women emoting autobiographically, They Call Me Q! comes as a refreshing change of pace: an attractive, articulate Indian woman emoting autobiographically. In all seriousness, Qurrat Ann Kadwani is a theatrical force of nature, embodying 13 distinct characters in this emotionally affecting exercise in multi-cultural anthropology.
Burdened with a noble Koranic name no Westerner can pronounce, Q immigrated from India to The Bronx during the heyday of MTV, where she struggled to find her place among conflicting cultural influences: her hard-bitten Hispanic schoolmates, hard-hitting African-American neighbors, and hard-driving traditionalist parents. Her evolving relationship with her homeland is at the heart of her story, as it shifts from the scary place her father threatens to send her for marriage, to a welcoming world of henna street artists spreading good luck.
Q has a marvelous ear for vocal mimicry and eye for telling details that help her rainbow of personas remain distinct. The momentum of her show (co-directed by Obaid Kadwani and Claudia Gaspar, and developed with Ellery Schaar) dips a bit in the middle, but she crosses the finish line with conviction. It may be a bit cliche that Q had to travel half-way around the world to become comfortable in her own skin, but that doesn't make her journey from anger to acceptance any less compelling.
Note: This review is based on a preview performance that the press was invited to attend.
They Call Me Q!
eyeBLINK (New York, NY)
Rating: G14 (Adult Language)
Run Time: 60 minutes
Genre: Comedy/drama - solo play
Thu, May 16 2013, 8:45p.m. - 9:45p.m.
Fri, May 17 2013, 7:15p.m. - 8:15p.m.
Sat, May 18 2013, 5:15p.m. - 6:15p.m.
Sun, May 19 2013, 11:30a.m. - 12:30p.m.