13500 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Region: San Fernando Valley
Like it or not, in a country of melting-pot mongrels, the dislocating immigrant experience is part of our cultural DNA. So it is no surprise that performer Tara Grammy's partly autobiographical solo show (co-written with Tom Arthur Davis) about Toronto's Iranian expatriate community should resonate with such poignant and universal familiarity. Grammy interweaves multiple characters: Mahmoud, a middle-aged cab driver and refugee from the Khomeini revolution; a flamboyant Spanish gay man and his Iranian boyfriend, who has returned to Tehran on family business; and Grammy herself, both as an adolescent born in Tehran but raised in Canada, and as an adult struggling to launch a career in Toronto's film and TV industry. The freshest and funniest material -- aided by Davis' smart and brisk staging -- belongs to the 11-year-old Tara and her fixation on somehow mitigating the physical differences between her own dark complexion and that of her class's most popular blond, blue-eyed girl. What ultimately thwarts all the characters, however, is an Iran of the imagination whose relation to the truth becomes increasingly problematic as headlines from that country's 2009 elections hint at a more complicated and disturbing reality. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through June 29. (818) 990-2324, whitefiretheatre.com.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: May 18. Continues through June 29, 2013