Stunning, on every level. It’s the very rare performer who has the talent, courage, and vehicle to transform an audience through laughter. This is one. Having had a number of Muslim students (most of them, superb) in my college classes, I thought I was somewhat prepared for this. I was not. Fazal has an uncanny ability to make us laugh about the things which matter most to us
- who we “are,” what we believe, how we express, and what we express publicly. Her fluid physicality is both arresting and unexpected, leading us to challenge any notions of the retiring Muslim female. While we’re at it, we encounter a strong and open sexuality, and deep questions about faith, social justice, and societal expectations and control. Hmmmm…might add that her photos do not do her complete justice: she has a singular ability to change from goofy character to utterly alluring beauty in an instant, again and again inviting the audience to reconsider the complex and conflicted human being underneath the garb. That she is able to represent AND make the audience laugh and laugh and laugh is simply astounding. As my Korean-American (male) student who accompanied me said, “I left this feeling that her experiences are so much like mine. I just didn’t think there was quite this much to laugh about.”
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