Written and Performed by Brandon Raman.
As part of the Whitefire Theatres Solofest 2020
Brandon Raman is a force of nature. Hilarious, brutally honest, rather handsome and an outrageously gifted storyteller.
The premise of this inspired show is that Brandon falls asleep while worrying about his place in the world and when he wakes, various relatives, uncles, grandmothers, distant twisted cousins etc., all from beyond the grave, greet him. Initially, to his quite understandable horror. But they are there to help him, to guide him and to show him where he came from and how miraculous his life truly is. They want him to experience the sacrifice and the heroism of his ancestors and to therefore understand more of himself and his own important uniqueness. All this is done with humor and pathos and tremendous physical metamorphosis by Mr Raman…what a workout he must have!
His first visitor, in true ikeary Dickensian fashion, brings with him a large plastic storage box in which Brandon must climb each time he whirls through time…with the help of some brilliantly kitschy effects. He travels back through his life from childhood to present exploring his identity as an Indian man who has never really seen himself as one. He also spends time with his quirky relatives in their own spaces in the universe, which is a revelation to him, and us.
His parents thought that by not teaching him Hindi he would become more integrated into the American culture, but America is a fickle friend, and integration does not come so naturally here. So Brandon grew up between two worlds, as many do, not feeling a part of either.
“I Can’t Indian Good” is somewhere between “A Christmas Carol,” “Hot Tub Time Machine” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Part oracle, part comedy, part truth. Brandon Raman has created something rare and wonderful. He takes us on a magical mystery ride full of laughs and wonder, but also actual heart-rending and cathartic lessons for us all. After all, we are all of us only here by the grace of our ancestors and their belief that what they did then, the work, the suffering, the life risking and the challenging cruelty of chance had a greater purpose…us.
Brandon Raman is a star. He needs his own Netflix special or movie or series. He is the real thing. A brilliant writer, a gifted performer and mesmerizing on stage. How he moves from one character and one place and even one world to another is absolutely astonishing.
If you are lucky enough to get the chance to see this show (and I sincerely hope you are), run, don’t walk. I am really hoping he takes this to Hollywood Fringe. I will be first in line!