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From Burqa to Boldness- One Woman's Remarkable Journey in "Burqoff"

Theatre, One woman show


Paprika Productions delivers a most poignant and passionate story, performed by the remarkable Nadia P. Manzoor. This autobiographical one woman show features a Pakistani young woman, beautiful both inside and out, raised in London with an overprotective, extremely strict Muslim upbringing, leaving her stifled emotionally. She was at constant odds and pressure to conform to her family's demands, yet always showed immense respect. She charismatically portrayed 21 characters onstage, all near and dear to her, replete with facial mannerisms and exquisite physical humor. The use of a scarf wrapped around her served as a unique prop, a perfect complement to the colorful scarves draping the set. In her quest for self identity and belonging, she portrays those most significant in her life, both in her formative and young adult years--accents, gestures and all.

The audience gets a vivid picture of her father, mother, brother, grandmother, boyfriend, college girlfriends, and professors at the university in Manchester she is privileged to attend. Nadia is a wonderfully astute actress, raised in North London, and has since moved from Singapore to Dubai; from Boston to Brooklyn. She was trained at Improvolution, a Groundlings based improv school in New York City. She so profoundly delves into her real life soul searching journey for happiness and inner peace. This story is so topical and timely today, as we are seeing so many incidents of oppression against women by Muslim extremists, and it's certainly time for these women, hidden behind the burqa, to express their true voice. Written and performed by Nadia Manzoor, and directed and developed by Tara Elliott, this show will help transform these women who have been trivialized to a very choked life, and allow their creative expression to flourish.

The actress is bouncy, vivacious, and mesmerizing, and at some points in the show, dances to the music of Bollywood, to the audience's delight. She so strongly yearns to break out of the world encasing her. In the end, one hopes for her to release her burqa and all it symbolizes, as she walks out the door, 'into the sunset,' as it were. This is a powerful, evocative look at a woman, symbolic of the struggle facing so many today. This is an out of the ordinary performance, premiering in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London.