Review: Stefhen Bryan Has a Story to Tell! – One-Man Play, "Doodu Boy"

Markdown:Thank goodness the title was not an indication of the production I saw on Saturday July 12 at the Soho Playhouse downtown. The penultimate show in the current run of Jamaican Stefhen Bryan’s Doodu Boy was 94 minutes of intimacy, poignancy and heartbreak as on a stark stage, Bryan brings to life the story of his impoverished and harrowing childhood, his life-long quest for approval from an uncaring and broken father and a misguided and zealously religious mother. The audience in the intimate Soho Theatre’s downstairs space, holds on for dear life as Bryan’s early years unfold in a series of heartbreaking vignettes. We share his tears as he recalls the early rejection of a father he idolizes, squirm uncomfortably at the indignity of him facing NYPD police – called by his father who for reasons unexplained turns his back on his son, but yet names his new son Steven! Bryan finds his way after getting the opportunity to travel to America and even though his dreams are shattered, his resilience and will to survive and determination to prove that he will amount to something is the indelible force that impels him to redemption through education and the intervention that he says saved his life – cognitive behavioral therapy.A UCLA graduate with a degree in Economics, his fascination with East-Asian women led him to a career teaching English in Japan. Taking a leap of faith to travel across the world to experience a culture unknown to him he meets and eventually marries ‘Monster Hymen Lady’ – Nozomi [Japanese for hope] and sets out on a path to fulfil his own destiny at the same time coming to terms with the fact that his father’s approval will never be forthcoming. The play speaks volumes in addressing the cancer that afflicts many people and is not specific to any one group or country – the cancer of absentee fathers.Encouraged to bring this production to stage by Debra Ehrhrdt of Jamaica Farewell, this one-man play is directed by Jared Scheib and plans are already in the pipeline to take the show to Jamaica, London and – hopefully – Broadway.Everyone has a story, Bryan urges, us to tell our stories – he certainly does.