113 N. Pacific Ave.
January 30 – February 22
8 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Following extensive reconstruction, the Penn Ave. corridor is again open for business, and now, even theater.
You’ve heard of a play within a play, but what about a play within stand-up? Presenting the Pittsburgh premiere of Brahman/i, Quantum Theatre kicks off a new year of bold, edgy productions with a first-of-its-kind play billed as a “one-hijra stand-up comedy show.”
Directed by Cornerstone Theatre founder Shishir Kurup, Brahman/i continues Quantum’s mission of staging site-specific productions in non-traditional spaces—never theaters or stages—chosen for their evocative characteristics and collaborative potential. For Brahman/i, the company has transformed the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation’s Community Center into a raucous pop-up club dubbed the Temple of Comedy—complete with cabaret-style tables, Kingfisher beer and Indian fare from People’s restaurant.
Equal parts charming, hilarious and moving, the two-person play explores history, mythology, gender, courage and even high school. Theater-goers will take a trip from adolescence to adulthood via the lives of a dozen memorable characters, as the play, actors and audience ask: “Where do I fit in?”
Starring as Brahman/i is NYC-based actor Sanjiv Jhaveri, who has appeared in the films Sita Sings the Blues and Just a Kiss. Pittsburgh-based actor and musician David Bielewicz plays the show’s second character, J.
The 90-minute play is the first work in Displaced Hindu Gods, a trilogy created by playwright Aditi Brennan Kapil, which riffs on the deities of the Hindu Trinity—Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. With Brahman/i, Kapil examines the great cosmic spirit in the pantheon who is “genderless, liberated and true.” Using hijra to describe the show—a term in South Asia for a person who is transsexual or transgender—is a further play on the concept of Brahma. Born to Indian and Bulgarian parents and raised in Sweden, Kapil’s trilogy explores her heritage “as a woman, as a person of mixed race, as an immigrant twice over, as a person who lives amidst an amazing diaspora that flies in the face of any attempt at stereotyping.”