One of the entrants in 2015, Alex Mahgoub has a particularly unique story to tell. Based on actual events, the one-man show Baba is the saga of a young man’s journey to find himself in a world which has handed out obstacles left and right. Starting with a major tragedy which changed the course of his life from a very young age, Mahgoub’s self-narrative is one full of witty characterizations which are a welcome relief to the more dramatic overall tone of the subject material. Whether playing himself as a child, playing his mother’s lover, or the homeless man downstairs, Mahgoub takes special care to create a specific set of physical or vocal traits for each character.
The events of this play would be sobering for any person with such unfortunate luck, but Mahgoub has taken the past hardships of his life and created a motivational piece of theater. Instead of plainly using the script as personal catharsis—though it assuredly simultaneously acts as such—Baba is a good hard look at the pros and cons of the different ways a person can handle emotional crisis. Life comes with detours, but more important than any of that is the personal response. Instead of allowing the past to dictate the future, Mahgoub’s path is one filled with determination and perseverance. Hard work is ultimately more important than “luck,” and Baba moves from conflict to conflict in order to demonstrate that—despite how dim it may seem—there is most certainly a light at the end of the tunnel.
Written with a cunning tone that oozes Mahgoub’s personality (a blend of cheeky confidence and sincerity), humor is interspersed in precise bursts to alleviate the pressure of dramatic overload. Though Baba will only see a limited run within this year’s Fringe Festival, look forward to this story making many more appearances throughout the rest of the New York theater circuit.
Baba: the Show (August 15, 17, 23, 27, 29, 2015)
The New York International Fringe Festival
Venue #4: Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, visit http://www.fringenyc.org