Binge Fringe Magazine

INTERVIEW: A Digital Pint with… Esho Rasho, Playing a ‘Dummy in Diaspora’ at EdFringe 2024

Navigating sexuality, religion, the English language, the fleetingness of youth, and a nasty nicotine habbit – Esho Rasho’s upcoming EdFringe show Dummy in Diaspora certainly aims to cover a lot of intersectional ground in a short space of time. The shows follows a character named Essa, the son of refugees, as he grows up in a country that he comes to learn doesn’t seem to have a place for him. Rasho is aiming to offer up a “soul-stirring” exploration of identity and the pursuit of self-discovery this August.

We caught up with Esho from across the pond for a pixelated pint to find out what went into creating the show, and what he’s looking forward to in bringing the UK premiere of his show over to Edinburgh this year.

Catch Dummy in Diaspora at ZOO Playground from August 2nd-11th, 13th-18th, & 20th-25th at 11:30. Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office.

Jake: Hi Esho, Tell us about putting together this remarkable story and how you’ve brought it to the EdFringe stage.

Esho: I wrote the show in 3 days in January. The story was coming out of me in a way I hadn’t experienced before. After writing the show, I didn’t ever imagine it would be produced so soon, let alone have the trajectory that unfolded. However, I read the show to a few of my close friends, who are also theatre artists, and was really encouraged to submit it to theaters around Chicago, which is where I am based.

A day after I submitted it, an improv venue responded the day after and asked whether I could have the show ready in 3 weeks as they had an open slot for a few performances. We got the show ready, which had performances in Chicago in March of 2024, and received very exciting audience feedback from our 3 showings, which all sold out. After that, I was highly encouraged to continue the life of the show. I submitted to a handful of venues at Edinburgh Fringe and was very lucky to have ZOO show interest.

At the same time, we also planned a few more Chicago previews prior to Fringe. Our pre-fringe previews just wrapped in Chicago, they took place at The Den Theatre in June of 2024. Where we continued to get great audience feedback. Prior to Edinburgh Fringe, Dummy in Diaspora will have had a total of 6 previews (5 of which sold out), 3 in March and 3 in June, all in Chicago.

Jake: So what details from your life have you included in the story and how has your own story influenced the creation of the piece?

Esho: I am the child of a refugee from Iraq and an immigrant from Lebanon, both of whom are war survivors. As someone who is in love with stories, I never saw myself in stories told on stage or screen growing up in the United States. So Dummy in Diaspora is a sort of reclaiming of telling my story on stage, and centering an honest human being living in the identities I inhabit in my everyday life. I do not believe there to be any story like Dummy in Diaspora today. It tells a specific, untold narrative; that of a queer Middle Eastern American boy, whose parents are refugees, coming-of-age tale. Although this story is very specific, the core of it is a human story about belonging and the search for self. So although very specific, we found a lot of audience members at our Chicago previews call the story “relatable” in their audience testimonies.

Jake: What are you hoping the audience will walk away thinking/feeling?

Esho: I’m really hoping the audience will learn about a story that isn’t often told or hasn’t historically been represented on stage. That being said, I hope the audience will find parts of themselves in the story. Dummy in Diaspora is a story about a human being searching for themselves and trying to be understood, and I think that can be very relatable to anyone, regardless of their identity.

There’s a lot of poetic text weaved into the storytelling and I hope that communicates human experience in a special way. In addition, a lot of the moments in the show are raw and bare, so I hope that can aid in moving an audience. Also, the story has many absurd experiences that can be really funny. Although we deal with heavy and real topics, there is a lot of joy, love, and humour in the show. As deep as it may feel, we’ve found audiences to find a lot of comedy and laughs throughout the show.

Jake: Now that we’re gearing up for Fringe season, what are you most excited for?

Esho: I am most excited to share this story with people who don’t know me personally. There’s something exciting about being able to tell this story to people who I have never met before. Also, meeting creatives and people who work in performances coming from all parts of the world is such an exciting concept. The fact that this is a festival dedicated to performance and people coming with the intention to watch new and exciting shows can make for such a beautiful and life-giving experience.

Jake: Fitting with the themes of our magazine, if your show was an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage (think cocktails, shots, beers, be creative!) what would it be?

Esho: Dummy in Diaspora would be a lemon drop martini. They taste good, but also can get you a little drunk. Sweet and a great time!

Jake Mace

Our Lead Editor & Edinburgh Editor. Jake loves putting together reviews that try to heat-seek the essence of everything they watch. They are interested in New Writing, Literary Adaptations, Musicals, Cabaret, and Stand-Up. Jake aims to cover themes like Class, Nationality, Identity, Queerness, and AI/Automation.

Festivals: EdFringe (2018-2024), Brighton Fringe (2019), Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Prague Fringe (2023-24), Dundee Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them