A solo show is always tough to pull off. A solo show that traces the evolution of a multicultural identity from birth to adulthood? That’s a gargantuan task. And yet, it’s the one Qurrat Ann Kadwani has boldly set herself in the first play she has written, and it’s a testament to her poise and charisma as an actress that she pulls it off competently. In They Call Me Q!, Kadwani charts the rocky path to self-discovery as a culturally-confused Indian girl raised in the Bronx. It’s a skillful though somewhat cursory ride.
Kadwani plays 13 characters, including herself, transitioning between her traditional Indian mother to tough-talking Latina friends with aplomb. As a New York-raised South Asian, I can attest to the authenticity of her impeccable accents and the simultaneous comfort and claustrophobia she experiences growing up in a culture “where your business is everybody’s business.” However, Kadwani has so much emotional ground to cover that her narrative often seems rushed and her characters don’t often graduate from the one-dimensional. While currently a nimble, polished production, what They Call Me Q! could really use is some breathing room. The ideas and the actress deserve it.
Indian women, Latina classmates, Caucasian teachers, Black friends, male/female – a voice for the universal struggles for identity and acceptance that are experienced by all nationalities. “A jazzy gem…ranks with the monodramas of John Leguizamo, Spalding Gray, Camryn Manheim…”
60 minutes…13 Characters…1 Woman…What a performance this will be!
See more at http://youtu.be/Sd9qwiYsqxk. More information: http://qkadwani.com/theycallmeq/