‘Dishwasher Dreams’ captures immigrant trials and triumphs with humor and poignancy



Alaudin Ullah in Writers Theatre" 'Dishwasher Dreams'. (Photo by Amir Hamza)
Alaudin Ullah in Writers Theatre” ‘Dishwasher Dreams’. (Photo by Amir Hamza).

3.5 Stars

Closed for two years due to COIVD-19, Writers Theatre has reopened its 2021/2022 season with “Dishwasher Dreams.” A one-man show written and performed by Alaudin Ullah, it highlights the immigrant experience through the eyes of a father and son.

The show opens with and is accompanied by tabla percussionist Avirodh Sharma who adds a sense of cultural authenticity to the performance.  Sharma is considered one of today’s leading exponents of the tabla, carrying on the tradition of percussion rhythm that originated in India.

Ullah is a stand-up comedian whose family came from a very small town in Bangladesh. He grew up in New York City but is in L.A. auditioning for a major film role that could change the course of his career. Unfortunately, a family crisis hurls him back to New York and puts his own dreams on hold.

He takes the audience on a hilarious journey through his family’s history from colonial India in the 1930s to Spanish Harlem in the 1970s to present-day Hollywood.

This exhilarating trek will have you laughing and crying at the same time as Ullah shares his experiences of immigration, the Yankees and the pursuit of the American Dream.

At heart, Ullah is a storyteller dedicated to changing the misperceptions of South Asians and Muslims in our society. His performance covers a range of emotions dealing with prejudice and racism on stage as he tries to become a successful American.

For both father and son, there is more to life than being an undocumented worker with little opportunity for advancement. Ullah shows us with humor and commitment how he overcame this!

A playwright and performer with several TV and film acting credits, Ullah was one of the first South Asian comedians featured nationally on HBO, MTV, BET, PBS and Comedy Central.  He is currently working on a documentary of his book, “Bengali Harlem,” to be out next year.

The show is directed by Chay Yew, (formerly of Victory Gardens Theater) in association with Hartford Stage. Writers Theatre which recently changed leadership, is helmed by Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy.

DETAILS: Dishwasher Dreams is at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, through January 16, 2022. Run Time: Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. For tickets and more information, visit writerstheatre.org. (Visitors must show a valid Covid vaccination card and must be masked through the entire presentation.)

Mira Temkin

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago