Hollywood Fringe Festival Welcomes New Show MEXISTANI
"If you judge a book by its cover, you miss out on the story."
That's a favorite phrase of comic Sofie Khan that she uses when meeting strangers from around the world. Khan grew up with a Mexican Catholic mother and a Pakistani Muslim father in a predominantly Black and Puerto Rican neighborhood in Chicago. As such, issues with identity played a large role in her formative years. That experience is at the heart of her fun yet poignant solo show MexiStani!, performing at Studio/Stage in June as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
In MexiStani! Khan, a 2017 Fringe scholarship winner, journeys through her unusual life with tales about everything, from the constant pull between her Mexican and Pakistani sides, to the pressures of both Catholic and Muslim influences, to celebrating identity triumphs with family members, to encounters with TSA agents, gas station cashiers and White House personnel. Strikingly honest, Khan explores the issue of identity and societal feelings about interracial and mixed faith couples...while also having fun talking about the importance of hip hop, the LGBTQ community and Trader Joe's tamales. Expect things to get thought-provoking, emotional and hysterical!
"The production aims to shed light on my multi-faceted narrative as well as to enrich the audience experience through comic relief from the heavy weight of our current socio-political climate," Khan said.
"I'm hoping to create a safe space and understanding for all, especially Muslim LGBTQ individuals to feel a part of a greater community and have a sense of belonging and acceptance. Since the nightclub shooting by a gay Muslim man in Orlando, I've felt a strong responsibility to use my talents to produce this show and ultimately enlighten the audience with hope that we are closer to unity and peace than we are to the fears and hateful rhetoric that attempt to divide us.
Mexistani! also utilizes Khan's comedic background as a sketch and improv performer to balance out the heavier issues, much like her previous solo show Excuse Me Waiter, There's Tandoori Chicken in MyTortilla Soup! In Mexistani! Directed by solo show pro Jessica Lynn Johnson, Khan attempts a rap in Spanish (it is not her first language!) offers the audience a choice of where the show goes next plays a Pakistani drag queen by the name of Lahora Glitz.
As a scholarship winner, Khan received registration, theater rental and the opportunity to work with aFringe mentors - Greg and Jenn Scuderi Crafts. It was a lift she needed after a scary encounter with an Islamophobic Trump supporter who tried to get backstage at her last show that almost kept her away from performing at Fringe. The support of the Fringe community convinced her otherwise.
"MexiStani! came from sharing so many stories with strangers I've met around the world and just answering questions about my ethnic background," she said. "Ultimately, these strangers-turned-friends, as well as my mentors Tanya Saracho and Josefina Lopez, encouraged me to write, perform and document my experiences to share with others to help shed some light on those who are different in my own special way."
About Sofie Khan
Sofie Khan has performed in LA's Funny Women Festival and has trained with Josefina Lopez (author of Real Women Have Curves) at CASA 0101 in Boyle Heights. Originally from Chicago, Sofie has previously trained at Second City's Conservatory, performed at Steppenwolf's Sketchbook Comedy Festival as well as with Rasaka Theater Company, Salsation! Sketch Comedy Troupe and Teatro Luna - where she created her first solo show Excuse Me Waiter, There's Tandoori Chicken in My Tortilla Soup! Sofie has held principal and voiceover roles in various commercials, films and plays.
About Hollywood Fringe
Hollywood Fringe Festival is the largest performing arts celebration on the West Coast. An annual eventcelebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community, the 2017 festival runs June 1-25 and offers over 1,400 performances in more than 30 venues.