Rohina Malik’s one-woman rumination on racism and religious intolerance, a hit at 16th Street Theater last spring, returns to Victory Gardens. The piece profiles five Muslim women dealing with post- 9/11 fallout. A dress designer refuses to design wedding gowns; a lawyer recounts the loss of a lover; a British rapper indicts her family’s racism; a restaurateur requires her patrons to sit next to strangers; an African-American woman defends her decision to “revert” to Islam and to surrender her head covering to avoid violence. Each monologue reveals a different aspect of Middle Eastern or Muslim culture, from tea recipes to wedding customs.
Director Ann Filmer keeps the pacing brisk; Timothy Spencer’s scenic design showcases beautiful fabrics and intriguing silhouettes. Malik’s opening performance seemed rushed, blowing through opportunities for important pauses. But each well-crafted story offers audiences the opportunity to learn and feel. You can’t ask more of a show than that. (Lisa Buscani)
At Victory Gardens, 2433 North Lincoln, (773)871-3000. Through April 4.