THEY CALL ME QLast modified: September 11, 2014
at St. Luke's Theatre
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"A winning tale!" - The Village Voice
"Rewarding on a life-size scale!" – StageBuddy
THEY CALL ME Q
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY
QURRAT ANN KADWANI*
DIRECTED by OBAID KADWANI and CLAUDIA GASPAR
DEVELOPED with ELLERY SCHAAR
*Appearing as courtesy of Actors' Equity Association
WINNER! Best Actress | Best Play | They Call Me Q
THEY CALL ME Q is the story of a girl from Bombay growing up in the Boogie Down Bronx who gracefully seeks balance between the cultural pressures brought forth by her traditional parents and wanting acceptance into her new culture. Along the journey, Qurrat Ann Kadwani transforms into 13 characters that have shaped her life including her parents, Caucasian teachers, Puerto Rican classmates, and African-American friends. Laden with heart and abundant humor, THEY CALL ME Q speaks to the universal search for identity experienced by immigrants of all nationalities. Fueled by her "remarkable ear for vocal mimicry," Charlebois Post wrote, “Highly entertaining and engaging. Kadwani’s amazing presence and delivery definitely makes her a force to be reckoned with.” Best Play Award Winner 2013 Maui Fringe Festival. Best Actress Award Winner 2012 Variations Theatre Group Festival NYC.
*Appropriate for audiences over 13 years old.
“Qurrat Ann Kadwani is a theatrical force of nature!”
– Orlando Weekly
“Witty and inspiring!”
– Montreal Gazette
“A theatrical experience to remember!"
– Broadway World
"A jazzy gem, in the ranks of John Leguizamo,
Spalding Gray & Camryn Manheim!”
Oct 17, 2014: Michigan Technological University
Sept 18, 2014: Northeastern University, Boston
May 19, 2014: OFF BROADWAY OPENING
May 8, 10, 2014: APICC presents at Stage Werx, San Francisco
April 22, 2014: Alcorn State University, Mississippi
Mar 12, 2014: University of Minnesota Crookston
Feb 19, 2014: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Feb 18, 2014: DePaul University, Chicago
Jan 24, 2014: Special Event hosted by Sapna NYC
Dec 13, 2013: United Nations Unicef
Nov 14, 2013: Tennessee State University
Nov 1, 2013: SUNY Geneseo
Oct 23, 2013: Hofstra University
Oct 9, 2013: Centre College, Danville, Kentucky
Sept 18, 2013: University of New England, Portland and Biddeford
Sept 13-14, 2013: FringeNYC Encore Series: Solo in the City
Aug 10-25, 2013: The New York International Fringe Festival
July 18-21: Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C.
June 19-23, 2013: Festival St. Ambroise Fringe de Montreal
June 14, 2013: Special Event hosted by Bijoy Entertainment in NYC, raising funds for A Slice of Hope
May 16-19, 2013: Orlando Fringe Festival
April 19, 2013: Special Event hosted by Lend-A-Hand India in NYC
Mar 16, 2013: Anna Maria College in Massachusetts
Mar 15, 2013: Special Event hosted by Sankara Eye Foundation in NYC
Mar 5, 2013: State University of New York at Cobleskill
Feb 1-3, 2013: Maui Fringe Festival. Best Play Award
Jan 10, 2013: Special Event hosted by "The Inspired Word" in NYC
November 6-17, 2012: Variations Theatre Group: Harvest Theatre Festival in Long Island City. Best Actress Award
September 6-9, 2012: The Chicago Fringe Festival
Best Play Award Winner 2013 Maui Fringe Festival
Best Actress Award Winner 2012 VTG Festival, NYC
RECENT PRESS ABOUT THE PLAY
"This talented actress, through her excellent portrayal of thirteen characters guides us through her life. She changes from person to person effortlessly, with merely a scarf here and there. Her accents and body movements are flawless." – UsherNonsense.com
"This one woman play is a veritable house on fire. This show succeeds because you sense truth hovers behind every joke, anecdote, painful memory, old family recipe and her own American dream. You might find a larger cast, a longer running time, and splashier effects at the Fringe. But moment by dramatic moment, this solo turn is splendid." – CurtainUp.com
"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. A nimble, polished production." – nytheatre.com
"In some rare cases, the decision to share tales of one's past can give the audience a theatrical experience that it will remember far after the last show. They Call Me Q! is one of those shows." – Broadway World DC
"They Call Me Q!" ranks among the very best of a large and varied crowd of autobiographical solo shows." – DC Theatre Scene
"It's a true gift to be able to distill the true essentials from the vast sea of experiences, and Kadwani does it very, very well." – Washington City Paper
“Witty, polished and inspiring…a confident, charismatic performer who delivers poignant moments as well as laughs.” – Montreal Gazette
“Highly entertaining and engaging. Kadwani’s amazing presence and delivery definitely makes her a force to be reckoned with.” – Charlebois Post
“Hers is a relatable tale for anyone who's gone through adolescence in any culture.” – Orlando Sentinel
“Qurrat Ann Kadwani is a theatrical force of nature, embodying 13 distinct characters in this emotionally affecting exercise in multi-cultural anthropology.. marvelous ear for vocal mimicry and eye for telling details.” – Orlando Weekly
"A jazzy gem, in the ranks of John Leguizamo, Spalding Gray, Camryn Manheim." -Beyondcriticism.com
Audiences say “They Call Me Q!” is “simply perfection”, “phenomenal”, “a beautiful work of art”, “hysterical,” “mesmerizing”, and so much more!
Bronxnet Open September 2013: Cultural Stereotypes That Hurt Our World View
Max Cross Septemeber 2013: They Call Her Q
Broadway World DC July 2013: They Call Me Q is one to remember
DC Theatre Scene July 2013: They Call Me Q! ranks among the very best
Washington City Paper July 2013: Hip Shot: They Call Me Q!
MD Theatre Guide: They Call Me Q! at the Gearbox
Montreal Gazette June 2013: Intense finale for Montreal Fringe Festival Winds up this weekend with a slew of shows, concerts
Montreal Gazette June 2013: Fringe Festival: Kadwani recounts ‘angst of growing up different’
Montreal Gazette June 2013: Top picks for this year's Fringe – Montreal Gazette
Montreal Gazette May 2013:Theatre: Fringe by name, fringe by nature
The Charlesbois Post - Canada June 2013: Review: (Montreal) They Call Me Q (Fringe)
DC Theater Scene June 2013: They Call Me Q! an award-winning one woman play
West End Times June 2013:They Call Me Q
Orlando Weekly May 2013:Fringe Review: They Call Me Q!
Orlando Sentinel May 2013:Orlando Fringe review: 'They Call Me Q'
Maui Now January 2013: Maui Fringe Festival – Performances From Maui and Beyond Interview with Qurrat Ann Kadwani
Rhythms of New York January 2013: The Rhythms of New York in memory of Dave Brodsky with guest Qurrat Ann Kadwani
The Weekly Dish Radio Hawaii February 2013: Chat with wonder woman playwright/actress/philanthropist Qurrat Ann Kadwani of Maui Fringe Theater Festival 2013
Hawaii Public Radio January 2013: Misleading ladies and other misadventures
Blog Talk Radio December 2013: Interview with L.E.A.R.N For Life Consulting!
SpliceLit: They Call Me Q: 6 Questions with Qurrat
InfiniteBody Sept 2013: Life on the Fringe, still: Q from the BX
Bloody Underrated June 2013: MONTREAL FRINGE 2013: HOLY TRANITY! A DIRTY LOVE SONG TO THE GAY 80S AND THEY CALL ME Q!
Me, Myself and My Blog!!! June 2013: Roots? Who Am I?
Beyond Criticism March 2013: Culture shock: Cue kudos for Qurrat Ann Kadwani
NRI Press December 2012: QURRAT ANN KADWANI will perform award winning solo play "THEY CALL ME Q!" Jan10, 2013 in NYC
Urban Milan November 2012: They Call Me Q review
Send in your own!
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, 2014
Advance-Titan, UWO Newspaper HERE
"WOW! Best performance/speaker I have seen on campus to date."
"I would see her again and again! It was very good!"
"Intriguing and interactive to watch."
"Great show, very entertaining."
"Overall, it was a very thought provoking show and useful program. Thank you!"
"This was excellent"
"Wonderful and touching story. Thank you for sharing it with us."
"Very moving and wonderful as well as funny."
"The play was very interesting but yet informative as well."
"Qurrat was a great performer and facilitator too! I found her energy to be wonderful. Thank you for bringing her to Oshkosh! I liked her informal meandering through her topics in the discussion more so than a lecture style that is more
Hofstra University, NY 2013
Centre College, Kentucky 2
I wanted my students to experience performance as narrative. I teach performance as a mode of communication and inquiry. My students were captivated and connected with the issues of race, culture & identity. The characters were depicted with a sense of purpose, honesty and perspicacity. The pervasive message of self love & self acceptance was well received by all who attended. – Anje Woodruffe, Professor of Performance Studies Hofstra University
I think it was really cool to see how throughout the entire play, you have the need to define yourself or find a definition through experiences but at the end you realize that the only real definition is you and who you are. Its not the name of a culture, you don't have to fit a mold, you create your own mold. – Jack
I liked the change of pace and when the whole vibe of the show changed. When something serious happened, it was really touching. It was a defining moment. – Michael
I liked hearing about the name plate necklace. I definitely remember having a moment like that when I was in Middle School. I grew up around a very Puerto Rican neighborhood and I'm not Puerto Rican. Its comforting to see you're not the only person having an identity crisis. Its normal to want a different culture and to be a part of what everyone else is a part of.- Daisy
I liked when you had the dialogue with you and your mother where you were trying to fit in more in the Bronx. I was only Jewish kid in my entire school district. So I really related to how you wanted to morph into everyone else. Well done! -Sarah
My favorite character was the Mehndi girl because even though she was very Indian, she was almost more urban. – Haley
Centre College, Kentucky 2013
I thought that the pre-show music set the stage for a very diverse program. There were lots of themes for diversity and inclusion. Every student can relate personally to some part of the show. We cannot find in our records a performer of Indian-American background. Our goal was to show our students that diversity has many components and it changes everyday. We achieved our goal because it shows them that you bring your story forward – it's not the black and white story, its a colorful story. - J.H. Atkins, Assistant Vice President for Diversity
My mom is from Africa and my dad is from England – Indian descent. Even though I wasn't raised in India, I could relate to the way you portrayed your parents, the way you had conflict with who you want to be. I was raised in Western Kentucky around Caucasian people – so I would typically try to be like them. There are always stereotypes of Indians – I didn't know what to expect with the show and I loved it! – Ioni, Junior
I thought it was very entertaining. For our school, we usually have lectures where people just talk, so this was a nice change, to be engaged in the show and learn about cultural issues in a new way. When I came to Kentucky, it was one race and it's kinda boring and there aren't different ways of thinking here, so just having someone come in and open different doors, its great. – Amber, Junior
I enjoyed it, it was very funny. It talked about alot of different aspects of stereotypes but you didn't do it in a harsh or aggressive way. It was funny and subtle, and I liked that. My favorite part was the jump rope story. – Joshua, Sophomore
I thought the show was very inspirational because there are alot of identity issues in our society today. You're taking the younger perspective and showing all the different issues we go through. -Jamar, Senior.
My dad migrated from England to NY when was 9 and I hear alot about what his family went through and what he wanted me to have. The show was very touching. I also lost a friend that I went to school with and you think about the people you surround yourself with, you wonder how much you really do know, how much does the place you grow up in really affect you, help you or hinder you. My favorite character was your father because although he spoke less, he had a strong presence, he had strength. -Nicole, Senior
The show spoke to me on an emotional level. It's really an inspiring story. It looks at all aspects of life, it goes past high school, it shows the process and it was beautiful. The suicide scene is so powerful and it was hard to watch but it was such a true moment. Casey, Alumna
I really enjoyed watching the narrative and the dynamics of the dichotomy of being American and being Indian or being non-White and being American. I'm an Anthropology major, studying different racial issues, and it's very good for me to see a different archetype of racial issue. I got really into the Henna story with the good luck message. -Haley, Senior
There were a lot of parts that spoke personally to me. I am from Ghana and I grew up there until I was 15, so just the whole concept of trying to fit in, being around a different population, the parents, all was the same. My favorite character is Alicia because I eventually came to identify with African Americans who shared similar beliefs on a predominantly White campus. – Mark, Coordinator for Community Service
The show was really fun and funny. I came here from Haiti and I have Latino friends who I tried to be like too – so I thought it was awesome. -Sarah, Senior
I loved the show, I'm really big on diversity and I like hearing other people's perspectives when it comes to difficult situations. I had problems with somebody in school and I got into more trouble than they did so I related to your story. -Shomari, Freshman
My favorite character was you. I liked the fact that you dealt with racism and prejudice. - Donna, community member
University of New England – Portland & Biddeford 2013
We all like to believe that this country is so accepting of diversity and people's differences but deep down there's a lot of misunderstanding and education that needs to go on. Just the conversation will open peoples eyes. -Rob
I want to thank you. Im Indian. Your family expectations, I go through the same thing. I've been here for 12 years and I feel I'm a foreigner when I go back. That experience, the way you shared it, it was truly remarkable. -Brijap
I think you captured every emotion very well. I loved your mom cuz my mom is just like that. – Maggie
Fantastic – I could relate. My grandparents are Hungarian immigrants. Really understanding others cultures is ultimately how you want to treat patients, you want to be respectful so that you're not losing trust. -Jason
I go to see alot of shows but this was quite exceptional. I loved your mother. I laughed and teared up a few times. -Erin
I've lived in the US but I've been raised in the American culture. Spanish people assume I speak Spanish and I don't. It's nice showing us that you can go back and find it because it is part of you. -Val
We have 13 different health professions and a lot of them came to see the show today. This was a fantasticly genuine demonstration of one persons travel when you don't feel you're native to a place from a variety of points of view. Maine is not terribly diverse and I think anytime you can hear someone's story on how they're different and how they cope can help them to be more empathetic to their future patients. -Kris Hall, Program Coordinator for Center for Excellence in Interprofessional Education, UNE.
I'm from California and I immitated my Mexican friends. I related.- Kat
This was so thrilling to bring this show to both campuses because its so important for students to hear. It builds a sensitivity and awareness to look for commonalities between cultures. The show is provocative in terms of making people think about their own assumptions. It's planting seeds, it's building awareness. There are universal themes and it gives the students an opportunity to think about their own coming of age story. -Donna Gaspar Jarvis, Director of Office of Multiculturalism and Diversity.
The performance is really amazing. it allows students to take their own journey to see if they identify with themselves or what others see in them. -Jonathan Osborne, Coordinator, Director of Office of Multiculturalism and Diversity.
Montreal Fringe Festival 2013
“Highly entertaining and engaging. Kadwani’s amazing presence and delivery definitely makes her a force to be reckoned with.” – Charlebois Post
“Qurrat Ann Kadwani is a strong (and beautiful) performer who morphs into the different characters of her youth effortlessly; her accents are strong, her mannerisms believable.” – Bloody Underrated
This was a powerful performance …I loved the end of the show where the focus turns to accepting who you are and where you are at a particular moment in time, living life in accordance to our terms…After the show, I started to think about my "Who am I" question and the answer that I had been evolving for a little while now. I am now letting it marinate” – Vidya
I was told I had to see your show. I’m going to tell more people to see it! I loved how much story you managed to put in an hour and it didn’t feel rushed. It was so rich, it is a great play, and I will unhesitatingly recommend it. My favorite was your friend in India – it felt like I was listening to someone in India telling this story and I wanted that food, or second option, I wanted to go home and cook it. – Rashid
Best show ever in English. Out of the plane moments – I think you have all the people who are from abroad in this moment. It’s the kind of play where you want to say, thank you. – Fofi
A quote that our English teacher told us: make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait. Your story did all those things. I love how in the beginning you threw in the name and I love how stories have a loop. For great creative writing, to draw people in, is to use all the senses – you did that. I felt like I knew the joke, you totally drew us in. I felt like I had Indian parents. All your impersonations were wicked. – Dalia
I teach at Concordia University and I’ve always been interested in culture and women’s issues. Your play is very bold which I appreciate, politically I would say, and it’s universal, you have the complexity. You’re talking to South Asians but mainstream White audiences can relate too, and it’s very well acted. Your movements, your change of costume, your props, every little detail was way above average. The writing was funny, there was drama and it was heartfelt. – Roa
I thought your personalities were so fluid. I was really impressed by your different accents. Especially in Canada, I think more people than are supposed to have a sense of conflict. I think you put a really good spin on finding who you are. I have a Jewish parent and a French Canadian parent and I shouldn’t have problems but I still feel confused . You’re an amazing performer. –Sarah
I met an old blind woman and she held my hand, and she told me she knew all about me. When I heard you say a line, it triggered that memory. In one of your dark moments with your friend, I thought, we all know someone like that. – John McNeil
I go to a lot of theatre and there is a commonality in the immigrant experience – it is similar to the Jewish, the Italian, the Chinese. It’s very difficult but amazing about the creative force that comes out of it. –Byron
Your eyes were very expressive – the rage, the fear, the excitement, it came across very well, very powerful. Your father is such a strong character – to give you so much leeway. – Michael
It really spoke to me. I was born in India and came to Montreal. I think one of the most important things you say is the significance of becoming yourself or freeing yourself to love, is to first totally accepting yourself, and perhaps going back to your roots as well. Beyond that, I thought it was a real tour de force. Your characters were very entertaining. – Ivan Smith
I’m Sri Lankan, so when you were talking, I could relate it to myself. I learned about it through my English class and we’re glad we saw this performance. The way you acted your mom was amazing! – Kivashnadi
You’re a very versatile, whimsical actress. I enjoyed it thoroughly, it was from the heart and soul. I loved the way you wove your props, almost effortlessly, you should be very proud. – Cheryl
It comes out that it was strongly felt and lived. My favorite character is your friend in India – she’s fascinating. The way that she finds in her situation, the wisdom, the strength to guide you – I found her so nuanced. This Indian woman in a traditional setting connecting with you who is in a new culture, completely different culture, navigating similar problems, but completely different, I found that beautiful. – Alex
My father was an Indian diplomat so I grew up in London, Denamrk and New Zealand and they always tried to make sure we had an Indian thing to return to, so there was a clash in culture. I liked the way you reconciled that you can never escape your Indianness, it will always be a part of you. You can’t ever escape your stereotype, even your own culture pulls you back into it. My favorite character was you growing up. The show resonated. – Raj
I’m Canadian-Pakistani and I recognized the characters – your friend from India, your mother, it was very familiar to me. – Miriam
I loved Beenie because I saw how it affected you. I don’t know your mother, but I love her already. My mother couldn’t cook, so you are very lucky. – Keri Lawrence
My favorite character is your mother. Your face is so expressive and you showed that she cared, but you also show the difference between you and your mother. – Mary
It was wonderful. The autobiographical part was the best – you’re very expressive and you drew me in. Your mom should come cook for us – I got a real sense of character from her. She seems like a wonderful person. –Charles
I enjoyed the change in feelings – it was sometimes a little bit sad, sometimes a little bit funny, sometimes a little bit deep. It was really like watching a movie, it was perfect. – Reginald
It was amazing, the characters were wonderful. It was definitely a great show – my favorite was, of course, the Puerto Rican! – Lisa Perez
Excellent show – the idea of being able to love yourself, being able to realize who you are and being able to accept yourself is very important for every human being. – Hirschel
June 14: Bijoy Guha Production at Hunter College Lang Hall
Benefit for "A Slice of Hope"
I'm Haitian but I live in Brooklyn. I thought the show was excellent, engaging, I've never felt like this before. I feel like this should be on HBO or somewhere major. She is definitely ready for Prime Time. I definitely connected to the parts about coming here and not being accepted, and feeling like being a part of a different culture. -Johnny Jacque, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
They Call Me Q!" is a piece that everyone can relate to. I felt myself relating to the characters and captivated by the "mother" character. I kept saying to my self: Hey that's totally something my mother would say! I am officially a fan. Where would the world be without the threatre/arts?! – Rachel Desir, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
It was awesome. Qurrat Ann Kadwani deserved her awards! – Mak Calixte, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
Funny, thought-provoking, reminiscent, touching, real – some words that come to mind after seeing "They Call Me Q!" You were an amazing performer! – Ruby Alam, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
I loved the show because it revealed alot about the truth. What resonated for me, as a South Asian, is just unveiling yourself and not being afraid of what you have to say. I remember the most about the mother's part – how food is so important, and having a conversation about marriage, because that's so big here with Indian women and what you're going to do with your life, alot of the stuff I could identify with. She had so many different characters which was really nice to see because it was very vibrant and colorful and I thoiught that was just amazing – that she was abole to put that out there, have everyone be in her world and take us on a journey. I think every father wants the best for their child. They just don't know how to express it. They do it in a stern way, but they speak with a gentle heart. You just have to understand it. Q really got into her father's shoes – she may not have understood it then, but she understands it now. -Nikki Chawla, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
This is the second time I'm seeing the show – she's just wonderful, mesmerizing. I'm a principal at a school – when the father comes in to talk about their kids – there's a lot of love, you can't always see it, but it's there. It resonated. - Karen Zuvic, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
I surprised my mom tonight – last time, she enjoyed the show so much, I didn!'t even tell her we were coming. She said, what a nice surprise! – Michael Zuvic, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
I think one of the most touching parts is the sudden death – very gripping, and moving. The whole performance was moving. I could see how the death affected her and what a caring person she is. -Meryl Weiss, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
I finally got to see the show starring Qurrat Ann Kadwani. It was awesome! Everyone should go and see her. – Geraldo Robles, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
Through all the incidents we all experience in school, with contemporaries and family – in each case, she was able to find her own strength through whatever was happening around her. She seemed to feel secure in herself as a person – she absorbed everything and enjoyed everything. She is quite good, she is very comfortable up there in her own skin. -Dorothy Pearlman, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. Being somebody who is a first generation child of Indian immigrants in the Tri-State area just otside the city, I've related. It was enjoyable to see her bring that to the stage. I think to be so publicly visible about it – there's a shared bond, to see it in a raw manner was refreshing. The father character is something characteristic of most Immigrant parents – because of what it took for them to pack up their things and literally move halfway across the world, for education or professional opportunities, because they had the resilience, strength to do that, there's tough love that they portray, but at the end of the day, they only want, at least in their opinion, what they think is best for you. Vipul Sharma, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
Alot of it did touch me – a flashback of being in a new country. I actually lived in the Bronx, moved here from Jamiaca, having an accent, being in a new enviroment. It was reconciling yourself to a new culture, into a new idewntity and how do you integrate and how do you find yourself. For the first few years, I pushed away everything American, so the play was really good. My father is a little stricter – engineer, very analytical, very cool. I definitely can relate to the father – because my father is like, here's the reality – life is not a bed of roses. You figure out that when they're there all the time, telling you things you don't want to hear, that's love. -Joanne Simpson, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
I thought it was very enjoyable. I appreciate Q's ability to easily switch in and out of character. I felt she was able to portray the emotion that comes with each of those individuals very well.
I had a different upbringing, but I could understand the emotions she was feeling. As a father myself, I think its a good way for her father to be. Parents need to always show love, but they need to establish guidelines. -Sam Kemp, Benefit Performance for "A Slice of Hope", NYC
Just watched "THEY CALL ME Q"! Such an amazing play that all South Asians should go & see! – Ragini Jain, Host, B4U
Orlando Fringe Festival, May 2013
Saw the most AMAZING one woman show I think I'll ever experience – it was simply perfection! Ever experienced a show so good that you had to see it twice? Yeah, I'm gonna make that happen. -Paris Crayton, Atlanta
The show is amazing – your presence, your personality. You're emotional and you drew me in. I felt the passion in the way you spoke and the way you presented yourself. I could have sat there for 2 more hours! -Rachel McIntosh, Orlando
I thought the show was really fantastic. It's fun and at the same time beautiful – it’s relevant culturally and politically. It’s beautiful that you show people the human side and that we're all really the same. -Eunice, Edinburgh
I thought it was a very inspiring show. I got that you should be yourself and not be who everyone wants you to be. -Karina, Orlando, 12 and a half years old
Your show was unbelievable! It was not only impressive and entertaining…it was HONEST…something that many artists claim they strive for, but few get it or even actually want it…you did BOTH!! -Kirk Henny, Atlanta
I appreciated the genuineness of the characters. The friend in India I loved – it was beautiful to hear her opinion. I left the theatre with more than when I came in. -Katie Perry, Orlando
You made me cry 4 times and it was unbelievably amazing. It opened up my mind – made me want to travel, eat awesome food and made me appreciate the culture of others. -Suzanna Faison, Production Assistant Orlando Fringe
I also lost a friend and leading up into that moment, I thought your choices were powerful and the treatment of it kinda wrapped my heart and had me til the very end. -Taylor McMullen, Louisiana
I'm Black and I grew up in a White neighborhood, so I get it. I'm one in 5 siblings and I loved your mom – moms are the same no matter what culture. -Jennifer, Ohio
I grew up in the South in the 50s and my teacher never got my name right, She always called me Wilbur Ann and I stopped responding to her. I said, Wilbur is a pig in Charlotte's Web. I'm Paula Ann Wilbur. I really loved your show! – Paula Ann Wilbur, Orlando
You had me pulled in from the beginning. It wasn't like a play, it was so real. When your friend tells you to be yourself, that got me. And your Indian father was very impressive! -Sunita Sukhraj, Orlando
Beautiful, very well done! This is very unique, the history reminds all of us, what we went through, what our children went through and where they stand right now. I’m very proud of the show! – Mr. Jatrani, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
I could relate in so many ways. I grew up in Pennsylvania in a one race community and I could feel her pain. Her parents are pretty much like mine too. I was tearing up – I felt connected. It’s amazing how one person can do so many roles. I hope she does more shows and I hope she makes it big. – Ireen Bary, B4U Host, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
I thought the play was really dynamic. She’s funny but also serious, she’s sad, intelligent, clever, it’s a lot of fun, like a rollercoaster. James Emmerich, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
I absolutely enjoyed the show, I found it inspiring to watch. At moments, I felt like someone telling a similar story that I experienced. It was phenomenal, heartfelt and I really appreciated it! – Dina Denis, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
I’m from The Bronx. Qurrat ripped the play. She did her thing. She performed her heart, her soul, her blood, her sweat, her tears. I can’t express in words how proud I am of her. -Tanzeel Kayani , B4U Producer, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
I really liked the club scene, it was really cool, she really translated that feeling of being in a club for the first time, coming in underage and letting loose. – Ashish, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
Q was amazing, surprised me. Very emotional ,very funny, it was a great show. I loved it. – Bolti Studios, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
I thought the show was really great, very relatable to my own self! – Ese, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
I thought it was a fantastic show! – Antoine Jackson
The variety of personalities was fantastic, it was a great experience! – Sanjeev, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
Acting was amazing, writing was really great. Moving and funny, it was a great combination! – Anita, Lend-A-Hand India Fundraiser NYC
I really appreciated how multicultural this performance was. It touched on the intersectionality of identity as the characters progressed. It touched on culture – whether or not to assimilate and maintain ethnic authencity while trying to manuever through life. It's relatable for all students with so many golden nuggets! The closing tied everything together with a really nice message and leaves you with a nice philosophical thought – leaves you questioning yourself. I want to bring you back! – Stephanie Williams, Director of Multicultural Affairs, Anna Maria College
I loved the show! Qurrat is an awesome, versatile actress – the way she switched the accents was awesome! Everything was so good. Her own self was the best – her experiences as a child – I loved it! It was worth watching. – Sonia Lawani, Desi Talk and News India Times, Sankara Eye Foundation Fundraiser NYC
In a truly enlightening performance, Qurrat Kadwani delivers powerful, universal messages that appeal to college and community audiences alike. By re-enacting her experiences as an Indian immigrant looking to assimilate into the melting pot of the Bronx, Ms. Kadwani eloquently conveys the struggle to define one’s identity and the challenges of confronting change. In her interaction with traditional parents seeking to preserve her heritage and her “marriageability”, Ms. Kadwani strikes a delicate balance between allegiance to family, the quest for individuality, and women’s empowerment. In the ensuing catharsis, Ms. Kadwani emerges as a stronger, more confident person, one who speaks with the wisdom of experience which connects her to her audience in a way that creates lasting impressions. – Brian Kaiser, Director of Center for Community Engagement, SUNY Cobleskill
It was a great show – very enriched for the experience. And I love Indian food – I love cooking it – so that was my favorite part. I could smell it. - Jeff Foote, Director of Student Life
I thought it was beautiful. It was awesome! – Katie, Freshman
I loved her mother, very real. – Michael, Junior
I liked her contrasting her culture with The Bronx. – Ann, Faculty
I was very amazed! I related to the Indian woman. It's really a matter of how your culture comes around to you and the way it shapes your circumstances and the way you view life. I find that fascinating. – Leah, Community Member
I've read the play but this was the first time I saw it performed and I thought it was very funny and moving. I like the dad character alot – he's a funny guy! – Michael Pulliam, Maui Fringe Festival Coordinator 2013
I'm not a big theatre guy but I'm glad I came! I was impressed. I'm Black Hawaiian and there weren't many Blacks where I was raised. I was teased and I could relate. There's stereotypes everywhere and the play speaks to many people. -Lee Ho'omana, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
Absolutely amazing, filled my heart! I was mesmerized the whole time. She told some of my story. I thought, if I could transform my pain from childhood like she does, then everything would be ok. -T, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
I was thinking of Whoopi Goldberg when I saw her on Broadway! I loved your mother and how much she really loves her daughter. -Zack, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
My name is Cleta and no one ever pronounces it correctly. They always ask me where did you get this name, how long have you had this name? Is it a family name? I could totally relate. -Cleta, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
My family was from New England but I grew up in the segregated South and I was completely lost. I joined the Debate team that gave me a sense of power, and I felt we had similar challenges, being a duck out of water. -Laura, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
I loved the show – I came to see it again because I wanted to remember the stories. I wanted to keep them. I loved your brother because he was so still and he told you not to cry and because he told you to cry and I felt that was very touching. In the transitions, you could see how the peices fit – there was nothing missing. Your attention was clear, so exact. -Matthew Gurewitsch, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
Towards the end when we are experiencing the cultural aspects of India directly,it was very comforting. It was what I was waiting for the whole time. I was sitting there and experiencing it with you. -Peter, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
That was a great performance – the point of view, the different perspectives! It surprised me how well you were able to bring the parent characters to life! That was clearly an enlightening and enriching experience! -Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez, Judge, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
I'm Japanese but I was born in Hawaii and I related to all of it! – May, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
I liked seeing you grow up in college, cuz that's where I'm at right now. I'm still finding myself- what have I done, who am I and parents telling you to do certain things. Really awesome! – Josh, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
You pulled out so many great lessons, little golden nuggets, and what got me was the Indian woman who was waiting for her suitors – she had somehow resigned herself to her existence but she was still happy. Terez, Maui Fringe Festival 2013
The show is fantastic. Qurrat is a powerhouse. Everyone has to go! – Heather Hume, NYC at VTG Harvest Festival
Amazing show!!!! For those of you who haven't been, you're missing out!!! – Elizabeth Juenger, NYC at VTG Harvest Festival
Great show! Was entertaining and fun to watch from start to end!!! – Russ Horowitz, NYC at VTG Harvest Festival
So many authentic nuances of The Bronx, growing up in the 90s, what it means to be Asian, American and Asian-American…a beautiful work of art. – Annalissa Vicencio, NYC at VTG Harvest Festival
I really loved it. It is such a wonderful story. One that everyone can relate to – which is what makes it so special. I especially loved the way you drastically transitioned from character to character, and we could all tell so easily who it was that was coming onto the stage. AMAZING! – Marisa Uranovsky, NYC at VTG Harvest Festival
The show is PHENOMENAL! – Annie Burns, NYC at VTG Harvest Festival
Knowing you personally made your performance all the better, but even if we were perfect strangers, I would have thought you were completely endearing and inspiring. Congratulations on such an amazing show. – Jamie Hanson, NYC at VTG Harvest Festival
Great performance, I didn't want it to be over! – Erin Sloan, NYC at VTG Harvest Festival
Fantastic show! Great storytelling, depth of characters, humor and honesty. Thanks so much for the invitation and bringing the show to Chicago. (ps. my 13 yr old son enjoyed it as well!) – Tracy Fletcher, Chicago Fringe Festival
You were WONDERFUL!!! YOU'RE VERY TALENTED!! Loved the show!! – Ruby Yo, Chicago Fringe Festival
Off the chain – Kenneth Wright, Chicago Fringe Festival
I really enjoyed your show. You're dope!!! – Joe Kollege, Chicago Fringe Festival
GREAT SHOW!!! Loved knowing there was someone else out there with brown girl problems!!! Thought provoking and fun, I suggest all my brown queens watch this show. – Asha Mathew, Chicago Fringe Festival
The show was fantastic. I am so glad I spent the time and money to see it! Great job! – Schae Lewis, Chicago Fringe Festival
What a great performance! – Shah Riaz, Chicago Fringe Festival
Notes from the Author:
As a South Asian female who immigrated to America with my family, I have come across many challenges in the quest to developing and understanding my identity. Many plays written by South Asian artists reflect the immigrant experience. However, I wanted to address the immigrant experience of the person who has grown up in America, who is caught in the middle of the American and the home culture, and who tries so hard to make sure that both cultures have a voice. I wanted to address the question: What happens when you don’t fit in either culture?
Growing up in the Bronx, I had experiences with many diverse people. I have written characters based on real people who inspired me; who stayed with me in my journey to understand who I am and who have helped me to become the person I am today. These characters vary from a Puerto Rican student who teases; a Caucasian teacher who takes advantage of her power; an Indian mother who tries to teach cooking; an Indian father who tries to give a compelling argument for arranged marriage; a black high school student who is care-free but has a secret, a black college student who uses her intelligence to show that she is tired of others who judge her; an Indian dancer in America who smokes while showing choreography; an Indian woman in India who has a very strict family but likes to be dependent; and an Indian henna-artist in India who gives a lesson about being happy in life, and many more. Through direct address to the audience and character monologues, I hope to show that my story, while specific to my life, is universal. I hope to show that this show will appeal to a person of any ethnicity. Everyone has had the feeling of not belonging; everyone has pressures from their parents; and most people struggle so much to find happiness in a world in which it is so easy to be angry.
I have also focused heavily on the theme of my name. Based on conversations with many ethnic friends, I have found that we share the bond of having our names constantly mispronounced. This may seem harmless, but when this error is made repeatedly, we are forced to accept it or constantly correct people. The latter becomes tiring and proves to be useless most times, and more often than not, it affects our psyches. The mispronunciation of a name affects how we view ourselves and how we feel others view us. We will always be the ethnic person, the Other, and so the quest to define where we fit into society gets even more complicated.