Review: Kooni and The Queer Ages of Hugo Dann

Two new works showcased at the Queer Acts Theatre Festival.

click to enlarge Izad Etemadi performs in Kooni
Izad Etemadi performs in Kooni

Written and performed by Izad Etermadi
Directed by Liza Balkan

Kooni begins as a light-hearted comedy full of quips about fashion, working in retail and work crushes. Things soon take an uncomfortable turn once a customer at the upscale boutique where Izad works makes a racist comment. Later, he meets an affable Iraian uber driver, with whom he shares a genuine moment of camaraderie, until he learns of his views on homosexuality. In the play’s gripping final turn, these peripheral societal aggressions become all too real, and a tragic reality comes crashing down. Kooni is an impactful story that is engaging, insightful, and expertly told.

The Queer Ages of Hugo Dann
Written and performed by Hugo Dann
Directed by Rosemary Gilbert

Hugo Dann is a queer activist and artist with an abundance of stories to tell. The Queer Ages of Hugo Dann is a catalogue of many of his stories, with a structure loosely based on Shakespeare’s seven ages of man. The tales range from sexual awakening in childhood to the death of lovers and friends during the plague years. This work-in-progress staged reading has such deeply felt emotion that is contagious through Dann’s portrayal of his life through the ages. With just a little more theatrical magic, this show has the potential to be something magnificent.

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