Rattlestick presents the NY premiere of Mashuq Mushtaq Deen's solo show, which compassionately brings to life the often-ignored struggle that a family goes through when their child transitions genders. More…
The comic and moving story of conservative Muslim mother at her wits end, a Muslim father who likes to tell jokes, and a queer American woman trying to make a good impression on her Indian in-laws. In a story about family and love and the things we do to be together, one immigrant family must come to terms with a child who defies their most basic expectations of what it means to have a daughter, and one woman will redefine the limits of unconditional love. 'Draw the Circle' is told entirely from the point of view of family and friends, yet performed by Deen himself.
"Exemplary...Instead of offering a first-person account, Deen tells his story through the perspectives of everyone around him...The result is an insightful work that is noteworthy for the compassion with which the playwright-performer explores viewpoints different from his own...The agility with which he jumps from one character to another is dazzling, but it's the humane understanding he brings to his portrayals that impress the most." Full Review
“In Deen's mad dash to portray Shireen's elderly, Indian father and mother--who live in Connecticut--her girlfriend, Molly, and so many other figures, including even a housecleaner at a Motel 8, where Shireen attempted suicide--he seems to have a different voice and demeanor for every one of them. He even--on his knees and with a little girl's voice--plays Shireen's five-year-old niece, Rabia.” Full Review
"As a document of Deen's pain and a plea for visibility, it is persuasive. If you can watch it without feeling compassion, see your cardiologist. But as a work of art, it's less convincing...Under Yew's efficient, unobtrusive direction, Deen is no shaman. Audience distractions rattle him...His characters never come fully alive...Mr. Deen has opted to trace his journey through the eyes of onlookers. But by focusing so narrowly on gender, he provides a very limited self-portrait." Full Review
for a previous production "Mashuq Mushtaq Deen has a singularly fascinating life story to tell. And the way he tells it is even more amazing...With his gentle humor, his agile portrayals, and a grippingly self-aware narrative, Deen takes us on his journey to become the man we see before us...The way as writer/performer Deen lets us know him through his transformation only through everyone else’s point of view is a masterful act of writing and performance that transforms us." Full Review
for a previous production "Deen's extreme vulnerability and creativity coalesce to make it a vitally important piece of theater...This method of storytelling feels completely authentic. Deen's portrayal of various individuals is remarkable, not only because of his careful craft, but also because of his great empathy...A singular theatrical experience. It concludes overwhelmingly, rendering transgender issues unignorable in today's divisive political climate." Full Review
for a previous production "The show invites us to let the outsider in and draw a circle big enough that it can include everyone...While 'Draw the Circle' may be a solo show, Deen inhabits a dozen or so roles...Each character offers his or her own take on Deen’s transition from Shirine and the impact it’s had on them...Deen captures the nuance of each of his loved ones’ mixed emotions in a way that speaks to an immense amount of soul-searching and self-knowledge." Full Review
for a previous production "Mashuq Mushtaq Deen has a good story to tell in 'Draw the Circle,' and a fresh way to tell it...Deen does good work switching vocal patterns and postures, but he’s more compassionate than chameleonic in his characterizations. Director Chay Yew keeps the lean performance percolating briskly...The story’s framework is simple yet striking, and more than a novelty: it’s an apt, big-hearted way to puzzle together many pieces of Deen’s journey." Full Review
for a previous production "A unique look into a life and development from a perspective outside of the individual. Deen writes with clarity and precision about the topic. His characters are all realistic and have clear intentions and feelings. The journey that they all go on with Deen is compelling and full of fear and love...Deen conveys his writing with clear distinction and emotion...After a while, the audience becomes familiar with the characters because Deen’s acting to so well defined." Full Review
See it if you enjoy hearing personal stories performed on stage, and love plays about love, family, and identity.
Don't see it if one-man shows bore you, or you don't like hearing about LGBTQIA+ issues.
See it if Great acting and richly-populated narratives float your boat. Because this one-person show is so well done, it feels like a play.
Don't see it if You're not interested in someone's story, no matter how unusual and affecting.
See it if you like one man shows with multiple characters that will make you think, feel and cry
Don't see it if you don't like self-indulgent diva behavior(stopping the show for someone unwrapping a candy) or the subject of trans people
See it if Want a deeply personal solo show by the performer/playwright that's insightful, masterful, relevant and important, especially now.
Don't see it if Uncomfortable w mildly graphic details re life of transgender person, don't like shows w gay themes, family conflict.
See it if You like one person personal journey plays with an emotional theme.
Don't see it if You don’t want to follow many narratives from different characters all played by one person. Don’t want to see a play about transitioning.
See it if you may be curious about one person's trans journey; to have a shared experience with your fellow audience.
Don't see it if LGBTQ issues don't interest you; you dislike solo shows; you'd rather see a comedy.
See it if Mushtag Deen's journey through gender transformation is both gripping & heart rendering As much about familial bonds as the personal toll
Don't see it if Transformations from different characters while never confusing at times sloppy Non-linear time line of the story requires patience
See it if you care about trans or LGBTQ issues or issues about People Of Color. You want a uniquely autobiographical look at these communities.
Don't see it if solo shows aren't your bag.
See it if experiencing the work of a new emerging playwright is something that excites your theatrical appetite.
Don't see it if if visiting the downtown theater scene doesn’t sound like an interesting way to expand your theatrical repertoire of New York Theater.
See it if You are interested and do not know, but want to know, about the transgenrder experience. Performed ambitiously.
Don't see it if You are very aware of transgender people and their issues. I don't feel I learned anything. This was one persons story.
See it if You like intimate, funny, and searing plays on expectations between parents and children, what it means to belong, and unconditional love
Don't see it if You're not comfortable with talk of transgender identities, queerness, immigrant families, or suicidal thoughts
See it if You want a well written, acted, staged one person show giving you incredible insight into the emotional and physical journey of a trans man.
Don't see it if You simply can't be empathetic to another human being based on preexisting bias.
See it if you want to see a love story. This autobiographical play is a brave look into family & close relationships of a trans man as he transitions
Don't see it if you are trans or homophobic. This is a very personal play, if you can leave your stereotypes and preconceived notions at home.
See it if you are willing to listen to the position of an Indian Muslim family dealing w/ their transgender child + gain insights into their feelings
Don't see it if you are unwilling to give a one performer a show a chance no matter how well told.
See it if thru portrayal of multiple characters movingly & w humor shows playwright's gender journey; special spice: his parents are Indian Muslims
Don't see it if there's nothing greatly insightful about the journey, does not cut to the bone; characters w some exceptions stereotypes
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