"To T, Or Not to T" is a solo performance piece by a transgender comedian and actor named D'Lo. The play will headline the 26th annual "HOT! Festival" that has become a staple of Dixon Place's mission for the arts. The play will run for six performances on July 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 and all begin at 7:30 pm. The hilarious play chronicles the performers experience taking testosterone (the "T" in the title) and transitioning; all conveyed in a mix of stand-up comedy, storytelling, and video.

D'Lo is of Tamil-Sri Lankan heritage, and he is best known for his appearances as the character Taj in "Looking" on HBO and his appearances on Amazon's "Transparent" and Netflix's "Sense8." He also starred in a movie titled "Bruising for Besos, came" and his life story was contained in the award-winning documentary film called "Performing Girl."

Via an exclusive Interview, D’Lo recently discusses his career, creative projects, and roots in writing plays and theater.

Acting and roles

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to enter the field of performing arts and how did you get your start in acting?

D’Lo: Even though I do stand-up comedy and acting mostly now, I came into the performing arts via spoken word/hip hop and a desire to change the world as a young artist. Aftehad comeout to my parents, I moved to New York and, thankfully, I was getting hired to perform on the university/college circuit.

Years after that, I started doing theater in New York with Susana Cook and was inspired to write my own monologs and plays.

Fast forward to where I am now, I guess you can say that comedy and acting are how I still feel like I'm contributing to making this world a more compassionate place.

MM: Your performance credits include roles on big shows, so how did those gigs come about, and what specific roles were especially interesting?

D’Lo: In the beginning, the majority of the roles were given to me by casting assistants or directors I knew, who were hired on shows.

I think the roles I appreciate the most are the ones where, as an actor, I get to feel the arc of the character. One of my favorite roles was in the feature film “Bruising for Besos” which was created and directed by Adelina Anthony, who is directing “To T, or Not To T.” It is a beautiful queer film that I play a major supporting role in.

Comedy and play

MM: Working on your new show at Dixon Place, would you say it is harder to be on stage rather than on screen?

D’Lo: I would say that both are equally hard, but the stakes are slightly different in that, if I mess up on stage, there's only me to blame.

MM: How personal of a story is “To T or Not to T” and what were some of the challenges creating it?

D’Lo: Like all my shows, “To T, or Not To T” is deeply personal; it's a biographical journey. My life, my family - all of it is funny. In regards to the creation of the piece for the NYC premiere, one of the challenges is that I don't live in NYC anymore (I live in LA), but creatively, I feel I grew a lot spiritually over the past six months and needed to have gone through a couple of emotional obstacle courses in order to get to this version of the script.

I'm grateful, but it was challenging indeed!

MM: As a comedian, how would you describe your brand of humor and the inspirations behind it?

D’Lo: I love a lot of comics and comedians - Richard Pryor, John Leguizamo, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Cho - too many to name! My comedy is mostly based on my personal story, my observations, and it is social justice-driven. Because bodies like mine have been the brunt of jokes, I definitely am not the comic who aims to get folks laughing at someone else's expense. I can't do that, I love humans too much. I'm someone who likes to bring people in, let them laugh and think, in no particular order.

I believe that a good comic can make you laugh your butt off, forget about your day, take you on a journey and give you a new perspective; you don't need to be a jerk to get laughs.

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