Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Theater Review: Mosque4Mosque
by Jonathan Abarbanel
2022-12-09

This article shared 1970 times since Fri Dec 9, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Author: Omer Abbas Salem. At: About Face Theatre at The Den

Tickets: www.thedentheatre.com; $7.50-$41.25. Runs through: Dec. 17

Sara and her children are Syrian immigrants with a nice suburban house. Sara (Rula Gardenier) is an accountant, widow and devout Muslim. Lena (Gloria Imseih Petrelli) is a straight-A high-schooler who prefers a cheerleader outfit to a hijab. Ibrahim (playwright Omer Abbas Salem) is 32, deeply closeted and cooks family meals after his day job as a college administrator.

Ibrahim outs himself when Mom and Sis walk in on him having noisy sex with his first serious boyfriend, James (Jordan Dell Harris), a non-Muslim lawyer. Mom is surprisingly accepting but fiercely controlling: Without telling Ibrahim, she enrolls him in "Mosque4Mosque," a dating site for Islamic gay men, using a photo of him at 17. If he's gay, he's gotta have a Muslim BF! So far, the play has the makings of a pretty good farce, but Mosque4Mosque—although billed as a comedy—quickly veers towards serious.

The play's focus is Ibrahim finding his way as a gay man. He admits he needs to work on the relationship thing, not having had previous experience, but he sabotages himself and his love affair because he isn't ready to identify himself as gay in the wider world, and he also cheats on his BF while proclaiming commitment. These are pretty major agenda items that deserve a deeper dive, but they never are resolved even as Ibrahim plunges himself into heavy drinking. Instead, they are cut short when Sara returns to Damascus, despite the civil war there, leading to a final immigration-related complication which ends the play in a completely unexpected way tied to Trump 2017 immigration policies.

This ending really comes out of left field, and leaves Ibrahim's conflicted personality hanging. Without knowing for sure, it's easy to imagine that Salem might have used autobiographical details in the play, but they do not necessarily provide coherent dramatic structure. Salem needs to focus on resolving the primary character arcs, which means the immigration-crisis needs to go, unless Salem can integrate James—who offers Ibrahim his legal help—into the outcome. Salem has considerable writing talent, and Mosque4Mosque is engaging, but there's still some work to do. Gay Muslim characters are rarely seen onstage (or in films), so Salem's voice and insights are important.

The About Face production features a capable cast guided by Sophiyaa Nayar, a nationally-rising director who's worked with Salem before. Rula Gardenier is particularly effective as Sara, with a lot of nuance in her movements and face. Scenic designer Steven Abbott also does a good job with The Den's long and narrow space, placing a square stage in the middle (lengthwise) with the audience on two sides, thereby reducing the distance from every seat to the stage and focusing attention.

Jonathan Abarbanel is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.


This article shared 1970 times since Fri Dec 9, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

The importance of becoming Ernest: Out actor Christopher Sieber dishes about the Death Becomes Her musical 2024-04-20
- Out and proud actor Christopher Sieber is part of the team bringing Death Becomes Her to life as a stage musical in the Windy City this spring. Sieber plays Ernest Menville, who was originally portrayed by ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Celine Dion, 'The People's Joker,' Billy Porter, Patti LuPone, 'Strange Way' 2024-04-19
- I Am: Celine Dion will stream on Prime Video starting June 25, according to a press release. The film is described as follows: "Directed by Academy Award nominee Irene Taylor, I Am: Celine Dion gives us ...


Gay News

Kokandy Productions now accepting submissions for Chicago Musical Theater Fest returning Aug. 8-11 2024-04-18
--From a press release - CHICAGO (April 18, 2024) — Kokandy Productions is pleased to open submissions for the 2024 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, returning this summer following a four-year hiatus. Kokandy is thrilled to ...


Gay News

THEATER Blue in the Right Way's 'Women Beware Women' offers feminist, trans take on a troubling Jacobean tragedy 2024-04-18
- "Problematic" is a great go-to adjective to describe Women Beware Women. This 1621 Jacobean tragedy is by English playwright Thomas Middleton, who is probably best remembered as a collaborator with William Shakespeare on their pessimistic tragedy ...


Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago announces programs for May 17-19 season finale 2024-04-17
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) announced program selections for Spring Series: Of Joy, the final installment of Season 46, Abundance. The engagement will include four unique works, once ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ film fest Queer Expression to feature Alexandra Billings in 'Queen Tut' 2024-04-12
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Pride Film Fest celebrates its second decade with a new name—QUEER EXPRESSION—and has announced its slate of LGBTQ+-themed feature, mid-length and short films for in-person and virtual events in April and May. QUEER EXPRESSI ...


Gay News

Open Space Arts's COCK offers a complex but compelling take on relationships 2024-04-08
By Brian Kirst - Premiering in 2009, Mike Bartlett's COCK was a comic revelation, exploring notions about fluidity and sexual labelling long before they became commonplace discussions. Granted, conversations about these issues will always ...


Gay News

Jeff Awards launches submission period for Impact Awards 2024-04-06
- The Jeff Awards announced the opening period for applications submissions for its 2024 honors to help inspire early career artists of color in the Greater Chicagoland area. Two recipients will be selected for awards of $10,000 ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Outfest, Chita Rivera, figure skaters, letter, playwright dies 2024-04-05
- For more than four decades, Outfest has been telling LGBTQ+ stories through the thousands of films screened during its annual Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival—but that event may have a different look this year because ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Dionne Warwick, OUTshine, Ariana DeBose, 'Showgirls,' 'Harlem' 2024-03-29
Video below - Iconic singer Dionne Warwick was honored for her decades-long advocacy work for people living with HIV/AIDS at a star-studded amfAR fundraising gala in Palm Beach, per the Palm Beach Daily News. Warwick received the "Award of ...


Gay News

WORLD Israel court, conversion therapy, death sentences, Georgia bill, fashion items 2024-03-29
- Israel's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Population Authority must register female couples as mothers on the birth certificates of their children they have together, The Washington Blade reported. The decision was made following a petition ...


Gay News

City Lit Executive Artistic Director Brian Pastor talks theater, comics, queerness 2024-03-26
- City Lit Theater has announced its programming for the 2024-25 season—which will be the company's 44th. It will also be the first season to be programmed under the leadership of Brian Pastor (they/them), who will assume ...


Gay News

The Jeff Awards announces the 50th anniversary awards for non-equity theater 2024-03-26
--From a press release - A complete list of recipients can also be found online in the Non-Equity and News and Events sections at www.jeffawards.org. (March 25, 2024 - Chicago) — Celebrating its 50th anniversary awarding recognition for Non-Equity theater, the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer musicians, Marvel situation, Elliot Page, Nicole Kidman 2024-03-21
- Queer musician Joy Oladokun released the single "I Wished on the Moon," from Jack Antonoff's official soundtrack for the new Apple TV+ series The New Look, per a press release. The soundtrack, ...


Gay News

THEATER Chicago's City Lit has anxiety on tap with 'Two Hours in a Bar' 2024-03-21
- Two Hours in a Bar Waiting for Tina Meyer by Kristine Thatcher with material by Larry Shue Text Me by Kingsley Day (Book, Music and Lyrics). At: City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.. Tickets: ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.