How To Succeed as an Ethnically Ambiguous Actor (Off-Broadway) (2016)

New York, N.Y. Zenobia Shroff and Arpita Mukherjee’s outstanding play, How To Succeed as an Ethnically Ambiguous Actor, takes you through the eyes of actor, Zenobia Shroff, the path she chose, and the life she didn’t. It was absolutely remarkable, lively, and so much fun to watch.

The play was held at the Paradise Factory, Downstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street. The small stage worked really well seeing, as this is a one-woman act. For Zenobia to be able to project her voice clearly and be able to interact with the audience gave an inviting feel all throughout the piece.

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Zenobia Shroff in How To Succeed as an Ethnically Ambiguous Actor.
Photo: Jasmine Velez.

This play discusses real world issues such as, what it’s like being a female minority in the United States, let alone one pursuing a career in the acting industry.

In addition, stereotyping, microaggressions, and tackling questions such as, whether or not the path you took, the decisions and choices you made were all worth it? Whether or not they changed you for better or for worse? Whether or not you like the person you’ve become? Whether or not you lose touch with yourself going down the path you chose?

In the end, it’s your life you’re meddling with; you have to live with what you chose to do. What makes this piece so powerful is that it is relatable and that it addresses these problems through a story.

Jim Luce, founder of the J. Luce Foundation, told me:

As a white male, I don’t focus often on how difficult it is being other than that. To watch Zenobia Shroff’s performance for one hour as she portrayed thirty different characters was absolutely mesmerizing. Her performance helped me in understanding how extremely challenging it is to be “ethnically ambiguous” as an actor. I hope to see Zenobia Shroff soon on the Broadway stage!

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Zenobia Shroff. Photo: Jasmine Velez.

Arpita Mukherjee, the co-writer, and director has this belief that art can change the world. I couldn’t possibly agree more, not only can art be used as a form of expression but also a way to inform others about the different current issues faced in the world today.

Arpita feels that art is not used enough to be an agent of change and that is the honest truth. What people want to see in art, whether it is theatre, dance, etc. is a story rather than a discussion about the hard topics.

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Zenobia Shroff. Photo: Jasmine Velez.

She wants to create pieces of work that transcribe and push for discussion, for people to be able to open up about what’s going on in the world, and be able to express their thoughts and opinions. How To Succeed as an Ethnically Ambiguous Actor is just another one of the pieces towards that change Arpita envisions.


Justine Lee
My name is Justine Lee. As of now, I have an A.A degree in Liberal Arts. In the Fall of 2016, I will be attending New York City College of Technology pursuing my B. Tech in Communication Design with a specialization in graphic design. Currently, I am a Communications & Social Media, Photography & Videography Intern at the J. Luce Foundation.

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