On Thursdays, the UCB Theater hosts a series called SPANK, which features two to three new solo or sketch shows, each no more than 30 minutes long. In their own words, courtesy of the UCB website, "It's comedy just out of the womb." This week, the series will feature three pieces: "Very Important Art Film," "From Reuben To Clay" and the one-woman act "Exotic Observations," by an actress whose career I've followed and delighted in since first watching her play the best mother in the world in Sooni Taraporevala's beauty of a film Little Zizou.

2011-06-27-12sld3.jpgFor those to whom the Taraporevala name resonates familiar, she's written the screenplays for such Mira Nair gems as Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala, and the coming of age Little Zizou was her directorial debut. While searching for her leading lady -- a Parsi woman from Bombay who would be equally at home being a caring mother and dancing a mean Rumba -- she was connected with New Yorker Zenobia Shroff, who at the time was visiting her family in Bombay. That was the start of a beautiful friendship, one that would bring to the public's attention a delightful, pretty actress, one who is also uproariously funny.

In "Exotic Observations," Shroff talks about her misadventures in dating as a foreign woman in NYC, the politically incorrect statements people never think twice of making in her presence and the lack of geographical knowledge everyone seems to display when talking with her: "Are you from India? I have a friend from Peru!" is just one example.

Shroff admits that presenting "Exotic Observations" at the UCB Theater is a dream come true, since Poehler is one of her comedic idols. She also confessed that she first had the idea of submitting the piece to UCB when she was coming out of a down period -- "one with a capital D." But now that she's on the eve of performing it she is "excited, nervous and ready to give them hell!"

If you are in the mood for some laughter (we're all in deep need these days!) check out the show this Thursday. Tickets for SPANK are $5 and can be reserved on the UCB Theater website.


Zenobia Shroff has been an actress for twenty years, she got her start in Mumbai under the mentor-ship of the legendary Pearl Padamsee. With Padamsee’s encouragement, she came to study acting at New York’s Circle in the Square theatre school. Soon after she honed her craft at the off Broadway theatre Castillo, where she played several and diverse roles such as Nora in Ibsen’s ‘ A Dolls house’ to German avant-gardist Heiner Muller.

She also performed in Mario Frattis “Erotic adventures in Venice” at the famed La Mama and Milan Kunderas “Jacques and his master”.

She has taught drama and movement extensively throughout the new York city area, primarily for inner city and low income children. She continues to tutor privately

Most recently she was in Sooni Taraporevalas “Little Zizou”, presented by Mira Nair. For that role she was nominated as best actress at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council film festival in 2008. Nest she was seen  ‘When Harry tries to Marry’, an independent film. Most recently she was in her first Bollywood film,"Ek main aur ekk tu" with Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan.

Zenobia is an accomplished Bharat Natyam dancer and writes and performs sketch comedy. Her one woman show,"Exotic Observations'', a humorous look at being a south Asian in New York City is available for performance.Her writing can be viewed on this website and www.theajnabee.com

Her acting reel and clips from ''ExoticObservations'' can be seen on this website and also on




But the scene-stealer of the film is Zenobia Shroff she offers myriad shades to the role with her husband, with Zizou, with her daughter or her mother she's spectacular. MUMBAI MID-DAY

Of the cast, Zenobia Shroff is outstanding as the harrowed mother, wife and daughter. At no time during her entire time on screen does one get the sense that her character Roxanne is not a real person. REDIFF.COM


Zenobia Shroff is fabulous as the Parsi mother—she’s another one who seems like she’s unaware of the presence of a camera LIVEMINT.COM AND THE WALLSTREET JOURNAL