Born Queer into a Tamil-Sri Lankan Hindu family and raised by Hip Hop
Written and Performed by D’Lo
Directed by Adelina Anthony
All Instrumental Tracks by D’Lo
“Queer Hindu Hip Hop – These 3 things make me but don’t allow for one another. This is my attempt at fusing these elements of my being (and my imaginary friends) onto the stage.”
Weaving personal stories through poetry, music, comedy and video, D’Lo also presents a parade of characters, real and imaginary. These diverse, flawed characters come to share their stories — exploring contradictions of existing in America where one’s immigrant traditions and culture are constantly challenged; battling against ignorance, even in friendships and relationships; and finally, reflecting stories of love that show D’Lo’s belief that “you can’t call yourself a revolutionary if you have a problem being nice.”
Ramble-Ations: A One D’Lo Show is a National Performance Network Creation Fund Project co commissioned by New World Theatre in partnership with Pangea World Theater and the National Performance Network. NPN and the NPN Creation Fund is sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Altria, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). More information at www.npnweb.org.
This particular production was made possible with generous support from the Durfee Foundation.
“Impressive versatility…” – NYTheatre.com
“Ramble-Ations…takes us on a cultural and gender journey that has never been explored in quite this way.” – Richard Dodds, Bay Area Reporter Full Review »
“D’Lo’s humor, pathos, and d’lightful d’meanor keep the audience engaged at all times.” – Mike Ward, Bay Times Full Review »
These are some of the characters from Ramble-Ations:
This is a quick transition into one of my characters…
who happens to be based on my very own “Amma” (mother):
As America debates the state of its borders and threat of mass immigration, Ramble-Ations reminds us of the cultural tensions and synergies that define and affirm us as a nation. Performance/Theater artist D’Lo grew up queer in a Hindu Sri Lankan family in Los Angeles County while immersed in Hip Hop youth culture. This potpourri of influences, often at odds with each other, serves as the basis for the uproarious parade of personalities D’Lo brings to the stage.
“Queer Hindu Hip Hop–these three things make me but don’t allow for one another. This is my attempt at fusing these elements of my being (and my imaginary friends) onto the stage,” D’Lo remarks. D’Lo’s concerns are both deeply personal and universal. In small, delicate strokes, D reflects upon what it means to be a person of color, to be queer, and to be from an immigrant minority. In the broader composition, D’Lo raises a much larger question about what it means to live in America, where one’s national, ethnic, and cultural lineage is constantly challenged by assimilation and normalization. These conflicts arise in confrontations with popular culture, as well as in friendships and familial relationships.
The ever versatile D’Lo plays all roles in this struggle, deftly shifting from hyper-emotional American princess to a reincarnated Mahatma Gandhi. With the introduction of each new character, we spiral closer to D’Lo’s core, while simultaneously expanding outward to an ever widening portrait of contemporary American life. Along the bumpy road of Ramble-Ations, we meet D’Lo’s bemused and befuddled Amma (mother). She quizzically probes at her daughter’s sexuality and assimilation into American life, recalling: “In 1999 my daughter told me she was ‘a gay’. Then, she further explained that not only is she ‘a gay’, she is feeling like a little boy trapped in a woman’s body. I tell you, we should have never left Sri Lanka!”
The diverse cast could serve as the basis of a variety show or sit-com, butting up against each other in hilarious succession. D’Lo, their common vessel, stitches each element of this patchwork to the adjoining square, producing a colorful quilt, with more than a few mismatched patterns.
But perhaps the most poignant role D’Lo plays is D’Lo’s everyday self, eloquently speaking about coming out to family and carving a place in the world as D’Lo moves from youth to adulthood. Spiritual crises meet the banality of daily life as D’Lo asks who s/he is and who s/he will become. We eagerly await the answers from this “One D’Lo’s” artistic imagination.
- Santa Monica, CA: Miles Memorial Playhouse, May 13-23
- San Francisco, CA: Brava Theater Center, March 17-April 3
- New Orleans, LA: Ashe Cultural Center
- Los Angeles, CA: Highways Performing Arts Space
- Minneapolis, MN: Pangea World Theater
- Philadelphia, PA: Painted Bride
- New York, NY: The Flea Theater (as part of the National Asian American Theater Festival)
- Amherst, MA: New World Theater