About Face and Silk Road Presents BRAHMAN/I: A ONE-HIJRA STAND UP COMEDY SHOW, Now thru 4/27

About Face and Silk Road Presents BRAHMAN/I: A ONE-HIJRA STAND UP COMEDY SHOW, Now thru 4/27

About Face Theatre and Silk Road Rising are pleased to present the Chicago premiere of Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show, by Aditi Brennan Kapil, directed by AFT Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff. This bold, comic exploration of cultural and gender identity plays today, March 27 - April 27, 2014 at Silk Road Rising, Pierce Hall at the Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St. in Chicago. Tickets are available at www.aboutfacetheatre.com, www.silkroadrising.org or by calling (312) 857-1234 ext. 201. The press opening is Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 pm.

Brahman/I features Fawzia Mirza in the title role with Damian Conrad.

In this provocative play masquerading as a stand-up comedy routine, an Indian intersex person, or hijra, explores history, mythology, gender roles... and high school. Brahman/i - funny, cynical, inventive and intensely charismatic - takes on more than a dozen unforgettable characters in a fascinating life story that most of us can barely even begin to imagine.

About Face and Silk Road Presents BRAHMAN/I: A ONE-HIJRA STAND UP COMEDY SHOW, Now thru 4/27"We are thrilled to be producing the Chicago premiere of this adventurous new play with our friends at Silk Road Rising," comments About Face Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff. "The missions of our theaters dovetail seamlessly in this story, offering us a rare opportunity to work together and tell a truly unique story. Using stand up comedy to blow apart preconceptions of gender and cultural identities, Brahman/i truly highlights what it means to be an outsider, embracing who you are, and the power of unconditional love. I'm excited to see Kapil's creation come to life in Fawzia Mirza's hands as her considerable comedy skills illuminate the play's touching, humorous, in-your-face humanity."

"What an absolute honor it is to be partnering with About Face on this hilariously bold new play," adds Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury. "If there is such a thing as 'stand up decolonization,' Kapil nails it. Colonized minds, colonized bodies and colonized histories all get roasted in a no holds barred, soul-baring comedy blowout as daringly funny as it is defiantly honest. Brahman/i reminds us that heritage can be a wellspring of courage and creativity - and that the body never lies, it merely asks questions. Whoever knew that intersectionalities could be so much fun?"

The production team for Brahman/I includes Roger Wykes (scenic design), Jeremy Floyd (costume design), Sarah Hughey (lighting design), and Josh Horvath (sound design).

Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show

Written by: Aditi Brennan Kapil

Directed by: AFT Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff

Featuring: Fawzia Mirza (Brahman/i) and Damian Conrad (J).

Location: Silk Road Rising, Pierce Hall at the Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago.

Dates: Previews: Thursday, March 27 at 7:30 pm, Friday, March 28 at 8 pm, Saturday, March 29 at 4 pm and 8 pm and Sunday, March 30 at 4 pm

Press opening: Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Friday, April 4 - Sunday, April 27, 2014

Curtain Times: Thursdays at 7:30 pm; Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 4 pm & 8 pm; Sundays at 4 pm

Tickets: Previews: $20 adults/$10 students & seniors. Regular run: $35 adults/$20 students & seniors. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are avaiable at www.aboutfacetheatre.com, www.silkroadrising.org or by calling (312) 857-1234 ext. 201.

Biographies:

Fawzia Mirza (Brahman/i), a lawyer-turned-artist-and-educator, was last seen on stage as one of four actors to perform in the solo show White Rabbit/Red Rabbit presented by the MCA and the Chicago Humanities Festival. In 2013, Mirza performed at The Goodman Theatre in Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegria Hudes' The Happiest Song Plays Last, where she originated the role of Shar. She was also an ensemble member of Christopher Shinn's world premiere play, Teddy Ferrara. Mirza's own solo play, Me, My Mom & Sharmila Tagore, premieres this year. Her Silk Road Rising credits include the Jeff Award-winning Scorched, The DNA Trail and Mosque Alert. Mirza has also been featured in several Chicago-made Indie films including Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together, Scrooge & Marley, Promise Land, Silhouettes and The Queen of My Dreams (this short film she co-wrote about her life, Bollywood and identity has screened at over 50 festivals around the world). Her web credits include The Throwaways, Easy Abby, Kiss Her I'm Famous and she writes, produces and stars in her web series Kam Kardashian and her new short series Brown Girl Problems. Mirza's 'day job' has her touring yearlong to universities and military installations performing Sex Signals, the most popular sexual violence prevention show in the world.

About the Playwright: Aditi Brennan Kapil is a playwright, actress, and director of Bulgarian and Indian descent, raised in Sweden, and currently residing in Minneapolis. Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show is part of Kapil's trilogy, Displaced Hindu Gods, and was commissioned by Mixed Blood, premiering there in October 2013. It was hailed by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press as one of the "Top 10 theatre pieces of 2013." Her play Love Person, a four-part love story has been produced to critical acclaim across the country in Sanskrit, ASL and English. It was developed during a Many Voices residency at the Playwrights' Center, work-shopped at the Lark Play Development Center in New York, and selected for reading at the National New Play Network (NNPN) conference in 2006. Love Person was produced in a NNPN rolling world premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, Marin Theater in San Francisco and Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis during the 2007-2008 season. In 2008-2009, it was produced at Live Girls! Theatre in Seattle, Alley Repertory Theatre in Boise and Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Love Person received the Stavis Playwriting Award in 2009. Kapil's play Agnes Under Big Top, a tall tale was selected as a 2009 Distinguished New Play Development Project by the NEA New Play Development Program hosted by Arena Stage, and was developed by the Lark Play Development Center, Mixed Blood Theatre, InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis and the Rhodope International Theater Laboratory in Bulgaria. Agnes Under Big Top premiered at Mixed Blood Theatre and Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT in 2011, and Borderlands Theater in Tucson, AZ in 2012 in a NNPN rolling world premiere. Kapil is currently working on a play loosely based on the character of Imogen in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre. She is a graduate of Macalester College with a BA in English and Dramatic Arts.

About the Director: Andrew Volkoff joined About Face Theatre in 2013 as Artistic Director. He is also a freelance director specializing in new and contemporary works and has directed numerous productions (including several world and regional premieres) in New York, across the U.S. and abroad. Andrew served as Associate Artistic Director of Barrington Stage Company (BSC) in Massachusetts for five years and Genesius Theatre Group in New York City for three years. He also acted as the Co-Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre Lab for one season. Andrew has worked as the Associate Director on Ella for Rob Ruggiero at Dallas Theatre Center and other regional theatres, is a Drama League Directing Fellow, and an SDC member. Proud to be the first director chosen to participate in the U.S./Bulgaria Directors Exchange Project, Andrew directed the Bulgarian premiere of John Kolvenbach's Lovesong in Sofia at the Nikolai Binev Theatre, where it is in its second year of repertory. He is currently developing several plays and musicals. He attended Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.

About the Companies:

About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world.

Silk Road Rising creates live theatre and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. In representing communities that intersect and overlap, we advance a polycultural worldview.

Photo Credit: Joe Mazza

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