The Los Angeles LGBT Center production of D’Lo’s solo show, TO T, OR NOT TO T is currently playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Commissioned as a workshop production by Dixon Place in New York City in 2017, the solo presentation was originally produced at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The transgender community has solidly endorsed D’Lo’s personal, bold, and hilarious autobiography about coming to terms with an alternative lifestyle in today’s America. The play is especially powerful because D’Lo is not only queer/transgender – but also Sri Lankan-American – with all the special twists and turns involved when deeply engrained cultural values suddenly go topsy-turvy. The change from sari to trousers is guaranteed to amaze and confuse the conservative Sri Lankan community.
In exquisite detail, D’Lo outlines the journey from a girlhood in Lancaster, California, to an eventual transition to a man comfortable in his own skin. Along the way, TO T OR NOT TO T explores his relationship with his immigrant parents, his love for hip hop, and his slow recognition that being male dominates any perks inherent in being female. D’Lo has the good luck to have an understanding and caring father who encourages D’Lo’s investigation – even after his sister dies tragically and he remains the only female sibling in the family. And what of TO T, OR NOT TO T? The big decisions are never easy. Whether to rid oneself of breasts or begin a diet of testosterone, D’Lo must make some very rough and tough calls.
TO T OR NOT TO T won the Center Theatre Group’s 2021 Dorothy and Richard Sherwood Award, and D’Lo has toured theaters and festivals nationally to raise community awareness about the barriers, prejudices, and joys of being transgender. He is a regular performer/speaker on the college/university circuit, and his work has been published or written about in journals and anthologies. Most recently, D’Lo was awarded the Artist Disruptor Fellowship through the Center for Cultural Performance and 5050×2020, an initiative started by Joey Soloway. He is also a Civic Media Fellow through USC’s Annenberg School of Innovation funded by the MacArthur Foundation.
But D’Lo’s credentials do not do justice to his honest and intimate exploration of what it means to leave the familiar and accepted in order to forge a new path into unknown and often dangerous territory. TO T OR NOT TO T is a remarkable study of the difficulties faced by the charming and challenging D’Lo, a man who knows what he wants and goes for it. An somehow manages to retain a keen sense of humor.
TO T OR NOT TO T runs through July 10, 2022, with performances at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays (no 1:30 p.m. June 26 performance). The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232. Tickets range from $30 to $75. For information and reservations, call 213-628-2772 or go online.