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I Am S.A.A.M. (South Asian American Male) Goethe-Institut
Remaining Performances: Friday, July 27, 9 pm Saturday, July 28, 5 pm Sunday, July 29, 4:30 pm
They say: “A multimedia presentation inspired by stories of real South Asian men living in the DC area. Through vignettes of humor and drama, we bring to the forefront a production that speaks not just to South Asians, but to men and women all over the world.”
I say: Minimally multimedia — and minimally competent. Packed house Sunday afternoon was treated to a series of shorts notable more for pedestrian writing and stiff performances than for any window into the experiences they portray — though the whole business is earnest and heartfelt and possibly even full of insider insights, the creators haven’t found a way to communicate those insights to audiences from other subcultures. (Or even, given the thin laughter among the bindi-dotted gaggles in the audience, to their own.)
Glimmers of light: A sweet two-hander about a guy whose arranged marriage (I think) turns out beautifully, and a lightly funny lecture-style dissection of the ABCD Woman (that’s “American Born Confused Desi”) and her polar opposite, the FOB (“Fresh Off the Boat”) —delivered by a frustrated guy who wants the best of both worlds: “a woman with high values who’ll sleep with me.”
But to get there, you have to sit through the one about the biracial bisexual whose interracial relationship is threatened by her decision to seek gender-reassignment surgery — which you’d think you could wring a little drama from, no? (no.) Then you’ll have to sit through several more, including a final skit about a whiny, needy woman and her emotionally unavailable boyfriend — types who turn out to be annoying in pretty much any culture. Upside of the Goethe-Institut: Lovely sightlines. Downside: No discreet back-of-house exit.
See it if: You’ve got friends in the show.
Skip it if: You can pretend, next time you see them, that you were out of town.