Faster Than The Speed Of White
nytheatre.com review by Ed Malin
August 21, 2010
Faster Than The Speed of White features the young, energized spoken word talents of Pushkar Sharma and Sathya Sridharan plus electric bass from Charles Kim.
Together, they take us on a journey aboard the ship Brownstar Galactica.
Straight out of Boston but conscious of their South Asian heritage, they tell a story I definitely have not heard before. With a great deal of humor that pleased the early-20s audience, they ask these questions: Where is home? Can I be more than one thing at once? Will everyone judge me based on my resemblance to Kal Penn (of Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle fame)?
This show abounds in cultural references which may have shaped your early childhood. Like Star Trek, their spaceship has a log. The dates are entered as follows:"Stardate: 90210-69," "Stardate: Harry Potter 1 through 7," and "Stardate: SG-1."
Brownstar Galactica is on a mission to find the oracle at the center of the universe, which should be able to answer their many questions. Along the way they encounter an "ancient" entertainment device (a Sega Genesis), fly through flashbacks of Harold and Kumar and Van Wilder, fondly pun on the X-Men, and realize that the female-voiced oracle is a bit of a "thug."
Some of the questions fascinate. Does someone born to Indian parents in the U.S. need to learn an Indian accent just to get cast? If your parents were conceived in Lahore in 1948, but by the time they were born the family had fled to modern-day India, does that make you Indian or Pakistani? Earlier this month, Brownstar produced the second annual Unification show at Joe's Pub, which seeks to unite South Asian youth.
Sharma (a.k.a. North Star) is the straight man in the duo while Sridharan (a.k.a. South Star) launches many of the show's sci-fi jokes. Composer and bassist Charles Kim propels the routine to greater heights. Nick Choksi deserves credit for his pure-energy direction of a show without scenery or props. Elizabeth Kramer's lighting is reminiscent of outer and inner space, while Joanna Gang's costumes show these performers to be the wave of the future.