So I Married a Muslim (SanMan Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review


Sandra Pascuzzi says that by doing this show she is trying to combat islamophobia that exists, which I commend her for. Unfortunately that didn’t work for me in her show So I Married A Muslim.

Sandra seems like a lovely woman and I am happy she found true love that crosses cultural boundaries but I am afraid I just didn’t find the story all that interesting; I wanted to get more into the politics and social differences, but it was all a little too personal and not so universal for me. 

One of the problems for me with one-person shows is that I need you to be clear about why you are doing the show and how you are going to share your story. I felt that Sandra got lost by using props and costumes and puppets when she may have been better served by simplifying things. She should just tell her story without trying to create it, and allow the audience to imagine the picture she paints.

At certain points she becomes her Mother or her Father and at other times she uses puppets. I would have preferred it if she had just stuck to one thing and played the characters herself as the story is far more effective when she takes on the characters as she does it with such ease.

Sandra’s story is very sweet but it didn’t hold enough drama, or personal change for me to feel connected with it. Nothing really happened to Sandra – it was only those around her that changed because of her marriage to a Muslim, and that was less interesting for me.

She very lightly touched on 9/11 and how that changed people’s opinions and often cast a negative shadow over being a Muslim, and I thought she was going to get into that side of things. But then she moved on to something else and that idea got lost. Which I think was too bad.

Director: Sandra Battaglini
Cast: Sandra Pascuzzi
Genre: Comedy
Warning: Audience Participation
Venue 11 Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace

60 min.
Wed, July 6 8:15 PM
Fri, July 8 3:00 PM
Sat, July 9 8:30 PM
Mon, July 11 4:00 PM
Tue, July 12 5:00 PM
Thu, July 14 2:45 PM
Sat, July 16 6:15 PM
Sun, July 17 5:45 PM

4 thoughts on “So I Married a Muslim (SanMan Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. I’m the other half of SanMan Productions and want to thank Mooney on Theatre for the great work you do for the Toronto theatre scene.

    Your review of So I Married a Muslim is welcome but I hope your readers don’t get discouraged by the unmet expectations you outline above. At it’s heart, this is a love story with a theme of reconciliation between families that think they are more different than they really are.

    Our goal was not to tell a story about overcoming Islamophobia so what you sought in this story was admittedly not there.

    Instead, our goal was to tell Sandra’s story and have the Muslim connection be an incidental detail. In this way, we hoped to normalize Muslims as members of our community that live, work, love, and play like any others. This is what we meant by combating Islamophobia in our press material.

    My response here is in a collegial spirit. In the end, the Fringe is an opportunity for both artists and audiences to take chances in the hope they find something special that resonates for them personally.

    Thank you for the forum to comment.

    Arman

  2. See, this review is a demonstration for me of what I love about theatre, and of where Mooney on Theatre grew out of for me.

    I saw the piece on it’s first day, and found it utterly charming. I’ve been telling folks that I thought it was lovely and amusing and that it was worth checking out. I found it to be a nice story, well delivered.

    Which goes right back to my ‘theatre is subjective’ thing. We strive at MoT to write about a piece that makes it explicitly clear that we are only speaking for ourselves and no one else, and that gives enough of a flavour of the show that someone reading will know if they would like it or not, regardless of whether or not the writer liked it.

    Fringe is inevitably the best place to remind me of this. I remember once, years ago, going to a show that made me want run screaming from the theatre I hated it *that* much (yes, that’s right people, it is indeed possible for Megan Mooney to hate a piece of theatre, it’s very very rare, but it happens). The guy behind me on the other hand, I was pretty sure he was going to pee his pants he though it was so funny.

    In fact, this year, not only is there this review where the writer wasn’t enamoured with a show I enjoyed, but there’s another review on the site of a show that I really didn’t connect with on any level at all, that my writer actively enjoyed.

    God I love the Fringe Festival.

  3. The reviewer, Lucy Eveleigh so obviously misses the point of this play. Indeed the only chance she would have had of enjoying the performance was if it had addressed HER criteria of ” politics and social differences”. Even though this was not what the performer and writer intended to make the piece about. In their press release (attached on this website) it says that the show is A cross-cultural comedy of reconciliation and love”. The press release even goes on to say “Rather than taking a political approach, she chose to tell a love story, her love story, with Islam being an incidental detail. In this way, the play normalizes Islam and Muslims, who live, work, play, love, and worship in ways that are very similar to any second-generation experience”. So the play was clearly not intended to be about politics. And definitely NOT “politics and social differences” which is the show Lucy Eveleigh wanted it to be about. Maybe she should write one herself?

    It’s great to have this public forum, but really, did the reviewer even read the press release before seeing the show? If a review is negative because it doesn’t meet the reviewers OWN expectations how is this fair to the writer of the show?

    For what it’s worth I really enjoyed the show! I didn’t go in with any expectations about what I thought the show SHOULD be about, I enjoyed what it WAS about.

  4. Clare – I think it’s pretty unfair to attack someone based on what they felt. That’s all she’s saying, what it felt like to her.

    Your average Fringe person isn’t going to read a press release, it doesn’t mean they won’t have expectations.

    Some will, some won’t.

    It’s great that you didn’t. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong if someone else does.

    All Lucy did was explain to the reader where her bias was coming from before saying she didn’t connect with the show, that it didn’t work for her.

    She could have said she didn’t connect and it didn’t work for her without explaining her expectations going in, but then how would someone reading it know where that was coming from?

    Also, in the same way that Lucy couldn’t tell you what would be necessary for you to enjoy a show, nor are you in a position to tell her what she would enjoy in a show.

    This was her experience, and yes, it was coloured by an expectation, even a desire for what the show would be about. But who knows, maybe if something in the show had been different, even if it didn’t address the things that you cite in your comment, it may have changed her mind. It may have made her fall in love with the piece. Who knows. That’s the whole thing about the subjectivity of theatre.

    My point here is that while I completely welcome (and encourage) conversation about *your* experience of the show, including how it differed from that of the author of the review, the personal digs are unnecessary.

    We work very hard at Mooney on Theatre to keep it clear that these are opinions, not absolutes. We ask the same respect from our readers.

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