The Whitefire Theatre’s 2020 Solofest produced multiple popular solo performances presented onstage before the advent of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders which closed theaters across the country in March 2020. With remarkable forethought, Whitefire’s producer/entrepreneur Bryan Rasmussen filmed most of these performances as they occurred live and uncut. In order to bring back the joy of onstage productions, the Whitefire Theatre is now streaming many of these solos for the in-home enjoyment of audiences everywhere while theaters remain closed due to COVID-19. Among the “best of the best” selections, Whitefire Theatre streamed I CAN’T INDIAN GOOD on Saturday May 30, 2020. This 80-minute solofest star was written and performed by Brandon Raman and developed and directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.
Brandon has a problem. He is a first-generation Indian American raised in his immigrant parents’ home – but with absolutely no physical or emotional connection to what it is like to be an Indian. He has never been to India, and he doesn’t really have any Indian friends. That his skin is slightly darker than many other Americans has become a source of embarrassment – compounded by new feelings of shame stemming from being ashamed of his own background. This double whammy has left Brandon feeling alienated and isolated, neither here nor there, as he navigates his emergence into adulthood.
With lots of introspection – sometimes coupled with laughter; and sometimes, with tears – Brandon has come to a point in life when he finally wants to take a careful look at his forebears and all the events that led him to this moment in time. He invites audiences to join him on his journey into self-understanding and acceptance. And a rollicking journey it is.
Soloist Brandon Raman does an excellent job of pulling together the multiple strands of his life into a woven tapestry representing the culmination of centuries of gradual growth and change. Visits with his child “uncle” kidnapped by the British to work relentlessly in another land all the way to chats with other “uncles” – each providing the seeds of his genetic makeup. The set is simple and relies largely on lighting and few simple props to tell a tale spanning years.
I CAN’T INDIAN GOOD is a fascinating peek into how each of us came to be. This piece will definitely appeal to those who have faced some of the same issues as Brandon – particularly the large first generation population in a diverse area like Southern California.
I CAN’T INDIAN GOOD can be streamed from the Whitefire Theatre’s library, Tickets are $9.99 with a service charge of $2.60. For tickets and information, call Whitefire at 818-687-8559 or go online.