To T, or Not to T

Tamil-Sri Lankan born actor/writer/stand up comic D’Lo brings his latest one man show, To T, or Not to T, to Dixon Place and his performance is both touching and laugh-out-loud funny. Originally born a girl, D’Lo immigrated to the United States as a young child with his family in the late 1970’s when his father was recruited by the country under a program to increase the number of doctors in the U.S.

Growing up in Lancaster, California D’Lo felt different in his body and wished to be male. With a father accepting of his tomboyish ways, D’Lo set out on a path to fulfil his desire. From the halls of grade school through university, his journey cites the struggles of a transformation which was neither quick nor easeful.

With poignancy and humor, the rocky road unfolds through a series of narrations and vignettes that take the audience on a ride full of surprises and unexpected twists. Accompanying photos and videos fill out the emotional core of the show. While on the path to discovery, D’Lo gives in to being a woman, turns to radical lesbianism and eventually succeeds in a full transition to becoming a man. Along the way, family tragedy occurs, disappointed parents are confused yet forgiving and a community is hard to find and maintain.

D’Lo gives a revelatory and infectious performance. His portrayal is genuine, inviting and spontaneous with a boyish buoyancy that is delightful to see and hear. One of his most realized statements comes at the beginning when he declares, simply, “I like being a man because people listen to me.”

He is unabashed about admitting that while he completed his top surgery in 2009 he did not begin his testosterone treatments until 2015 stating that he feared his voice would change too much and affect his various characterizations in his shows. When a friend pointedly asked “Do you create your art or does your art create you?” he realized he must fully honor his decision, furthering his commitment to being a man.

Without spoiling the ending, it is a happy one with a celebration of acceptance accompanied by a touching video of his life now.

See To T, or Not to T before it closes on July 22 at Dixon Place.

Special Note: Feature image courtesy of Ryan Harper Gray.