About the Show
Once upon a time I was engineer. Now I am engineer of my taxi.
Mahmoud is an exuberant, if overwhelmingly passionate, Iranian engineer-cum-taxi driver who relishes the chance to regale his passengers with his love of Persian culture. Emanuelos, a fabulously gay Spanish perfume salesman, can talk a mile-a-minute about his boyfriend, Behnam. And then there’s Tara, an awkwardly charming Iranian Canadian preteen who just wants to be “normal” (whatever that means). When the three strangers find themselves crossing paths in the busy streets of Toronto, their experiences with racism, sexism, homophobia, homesickness, and everything in between become intertwined in unexpected ways.
Written by Tara Grammy & Tom Arthur Davis
Directed by Tom Arthur Davis
Performed by Tara Grammy
Consulting Direction by Soheil Parsa
Assistant Direction by Omar Hady
Lighting Design by Linn Farley, Jenna Koenig, & Andre du Toit
Projection Design by Cameron Davis
Sound Design by Mike Conley
Set Design by Linn Farley, Tara Grammy, Tom Arthur Davis, & Jivesh Parasram
Production Managed by Deborah Courchene
Stage Managed by Jenna Koenig, Hannah Rose, & Heather Bellingham
Produced by Jessica Rose, Tara Grammy, Tom Arthur Davis, & Jivesh Parasram
From the New York Production:
★★★★ Critics’ Pick. "Grammy and her cowriter-director, Tom Arthur Davis, slowly upend seeming stereotypes. Racism, homophobia, immigration, homesickness and cultural identity are sensitively explored, especially during the characters’ brief but heated interactions. But even though Mahmoud has serious undertones, it never devolves into a lecture. This is a piece about people, not politics."
-Raven Snook, Time Out NY
"The gratifyingly complex portraits strip away our preconceptions of what it means to be Iranian."
-Erik Haagensen, Backstage
“Excellent direction and a riveting performance… A touching and funny look at the ways racism, classism, sexism, and sexual preference intertwine in the lives of three disparate characters, all played by a gender-bending Tara Grammy.”
-Eleanor J. Bader, Theatre Is Easy
“This look into the dynamics of the Iranian Diaspora in Toronto is an infinitely worthwhile evening of theater for people who want to know more about Iran — and considering its ubiquity on the world stage, that should be everyone — and the people who choose to leave it.”
-Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania
From the Los Angeles Productions:
GO! "Resonates with such poignant and universal familiarity."
-Bill Raden, LA Weekly
"An emotionally intense, heartfelt production... Hilarious, touching, and involving, the story examines cultural and religious tensions over what it means to be Iranian in a modern, cosmopolitan city."
-Mary Mallory, The Tolucan Times
“An exuberant, hyper-polished, pitch-and-rhythm-perfect sojourn within the lives of three disparate Toronto immigrants.”
-Julio Martinez, Arts In LA
From the Toronto Productions:
★★★★ Critics’ Pick. "It's that rare show that has humour and heart."
-Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine
★★★★★ "Uproarious laughter!"
-Ryan West, Torontoist
★★★★★ "Mind-blowing… a play that skillfully combines aesthetics and politics; a play that captures the brilliant performance of a young Canadian artist; and perhaps most importantly, a play that attests to the changing landscape of multicultural theatre in Canada."
-Alia Somani, Plays To See
★★★★½ "This action-filled show packs a powerful punch."
-Lauren Gillett, Theatromania
★★★★"Each narrative arc is capable of standing on its own, but the real intrigue happens when the subjects cross paths with one another, revealing the tensions that exist not only between North American and Iranian values, but among different generations of Iranian-Canadians.”
-Carly Maga, The GridTO
"The three storylines are an amusingly irreverent take on immigration, gay relationships, Iran and Toronto. With seeming ease, Grammy bumps the storylines up against each other and then smashes them together, invoking a level of poignancy I hadn’t expected from the show’s lighthearted beginning. I’m a bit shy to say that with tears welling in my eyes I joined the rest of the audience in a standing ovation."
-Jeremy Willard, Fab Magazine
"Mahmoud is comedic and will certainly get your sides shaking, but it also deals with a slew of serious themes: racism, homophobia, the immigrant experience, and most importantly, identity politics. The play expertly manages the tension between the comedic and the dramatic through fine character crafting."
-Cristina D’Amico, Toronto Review of Books
"A refreshingly honest and personal take on how a young generation of Iranian-Canadians experience the uprising in our native homeland. This is life and politics as only a twenty year old can tell it, unabashed and irreverent, free of dogma and indoctrination."
– Sima Sahar Zerehi, Shahrvand (the largest Iranian newspaper in North America)
"Dazzlingly Great! A Tour-De-Force Performance!"
-3x Oscar-Nominee Woody Harrelson (Actor/Director/Playwright)
Awards & Accolades
Finalist GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD FOR DRAMA • Canada Council for the Arts 2015
Nominee OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE - FEMALE • Dora Mavor Moore Awards 2016
Winner OVERALL EXCELLENCE IN A SOLO SHOW • New York Fringe Festival 2012
Winner ENCORE SERIES • New York Fringe Festival 2012
Winner BEST OF FRINGE • Toronto Fringe Festival 2012
Winner PATRON'S PICK • Toronto Fringe Festival 2012
Winner OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION & OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE • NOW Magazine 2012
May, 2015 • As a part of the Riser Project • The Theatre Centre • Toronto
October, 2014 • Golden Thread Productions • San Francisco
October, 2013 • National Union for Democracy in Iran Fundraiser (performed for Her Imperial Majesty Farah Pahlavi) • Toronto
May-June, 2013 • Whitefire Theatre • Los Angeles
August, 2012 • As a part of the NYC Fringe • Jimmy`s No. 43 • New York City
July, 2012 • As a part of the Toronto Fringe • Tarragon Theatre Extra Space • Toronto
March, 2011 • Tarragon Theatre Extra Space • Toronto
Buy the Book
Mahmoud is now a book published by Playwrights Canada Press.
Finalist for 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama.
Purchase your copy today!