Invitation to a marriage

Let me say this right off the bat: I have great respect for anyone who can work boobs into a comedy and make it funny. And Roland Uruci does exactly that in his play “Invitation to a marriage; It has all been arranged”. I for one was very impressed.
Jokes aside, the comedy makes for great entertainment and will keep you laughing from the beginning to the end. Even when the actors forget or stumble over the words, the laughters keep coming. The writing is smooth and the lines come naturally. It is almost a shame to pay only $20 and to have that much fun.
This is the first comedy I have seen from Roland Uruci, even though he has acted in several others. When I first met Roland, he was writing a sci-fi novel so I am thankful he found the time to do this as well. While the plot had the mandatory happy ending story and most Albanian wedding traditions were exaggerated for a few more laughs, it was all done to great effect and the audience kept applauding, Albanians and non-Albanians alike.
The actors themselves, meshed with each-other very well and gave a great overall performance as well as personal performances. If I hadn’t seen Diana Cena as the Albanian version of Juliet in the movie “My Destiny”, I would not have believed her capable of anything else but being a soft-spoken, son-crazy Albanian mother who spoils her children rotten, yet keeps the peace and the customs as proper as they should be. Her “husband” Dritan Biba, was also very convincing in the role of the typically overworked Albanian head of the family, who prefers to do three and four jobs, just so that his family won’t go without.
A great balance was offered by Anisa Dema and Besnik Shabani in the role of the Albanian future in-laws. In contrast to the traditional Begu family (whose watch has stopped the moment they got off the plane), the Bekteshi family has gotten on with the times and has become modern, even though they reveal themselves to be just as stubborn and backward as their Americanized counterparts.
Anisa is great in the role of Bardha Bekteshi (ostensibly called Bordha by her stage husband playing on its hidden meaning “farts” which describes her character perfectly) Her voice and her mimic make the Bekteshi couple and she has great chemistry with Diana, her in-law. Ii like, i like.
Bujan Rugova is very believable in his role as the “persecuted” younger son and makes it easy to create stage chemistry with the other actors. And such energy! Where does he hide all that voice?
Leonarda and Lumi bring a fresh take on the respective roles of Albanian and American roommates confronted with a surreal situation. Not as funny as Anisa or Diana, they nevertheless gave the show the serious and absurd tone it needed to become complete.
Adem Hoxha was well cast in the role of the good son who has learned to manipulate his parents from an early age and has managed to stay a child, until his love for Leila forces him to grow.
Jimmy Rugova did not even need to speak. That belt buckle said everything for the Albanian superintendent who has no qualms about admitting he sold himself for a green card and a job, and who thinks he is God’s gift to women. How well we know!
So go see the show people! It is on for four more nights at the Producers Club, 358 W 44th Street in Manhattan.
Your Albanian mother in-law will like it, your girlfriend will like it (mine did) and there is enough American and Albanian jokes for all to laugh.

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