By Jerry Dye. Playwright: Fawzia Mirza. At: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-975-8150 or theaterwit.org; $20. Runs through: Aug. 9
Presented by Catharsis Productions, Fawzia Mirza writes and stars in a one woman show with a lot of heart called Me, My Mom & Sharmila.
The set is a simple row of chairs where Mirza performs a 75-minute monologue. She is obsessed with Bengali actress Sharmila Tagore, who is scheduled for a Q&A in the theater where she's sitting. To kill time, Mirza talks directly to the audience about her journey to this moment.
This proud actress breaks down Bollywood for U.S. residents, describing Sharmila as the Beyonce of her time. She conquers body image and coming out of the closet in dealing with a conservative mother over the years.
Mirza paints a picture of being a Pakistani Muslim living in small town Nova Scotia who then travels to the big city of Chicago.
There could have been more fun references to local haunts for Windy City audiences, but said references may have been cut to not drag out the story.
She demonstrated a "choon choon" dance that is similar to the macarenaand it should be the next dance craze if there is any justice in the world. There is plenty of culture to poke fun at and Mirza has a good time doing it. Her show is rooted in traditional heritage but is simultaneously hip enough for a new generation.
With such an intimate theater, Mirza easily connects with watchers of her show and has some touching moments throughout the piece. It's a well-written and honest portrayal of this talented South Asian actress' life. As this performer's resume continues to grow from indie films to the recent About Face Theater offering Brahman/I, it makes one wonder where she's headed to next. Hopefully, we will find out in the sequel one day to this endeavor that is well worth the effort. With such a short limited run, make a quick trip to the Wit to see her, her mother and Shamila today.