Bootleg Islam | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Bootleg Islam

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It's not quite "My Big Fat Persian Wedding," but Iranian-American Negin Farsad's autobiographical comic monologue about a trip back to Tehran in 1999 for a female cousin's nuptials does tread some familiar ground as this all-American party girl confronts old-world traditions. A hit at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival, Bootleg Islam has a few bits that don't quite pay off, but Farsad does create poignant snapshots of postrevolutionary Iran as "a country obsessed with waiting"--whether for personal or political change. Witty portraits of her extended family include her uncle, a former playboy who runs a Prohibition-style speakeasy in his house ("There is no jihad in my bathtub!"); a gay cousin who's a wedding planner; and the bride, a virgin eagerly anticipating the pleasures of her wedding night. Overall Farsad quietly reminds us that life in the Middle East is far more complex than what our "free" media feed us. Sun 1/16, 5:30 PM. Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, 773-327-5252. $12.

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