What do you do when your fixed ideas of terrorism are challenged, are shattered on your doorstep and the bomber looks just like you? The Arcola Theatre in Hackney, London hosts a guest production for just three nights of “I Call My Brothers” a ground-breaking piece of Swedish theatre addressing the uncomfortable and muddy home truths around terrorism that are so pertinent to the rest of the world today.
In this show we discuss this English-surtitled show’s success with play-write and author Jonas Hassen Khemiri and three of the troupe: Davood Tafvizian who plays the lead character Amour, Pablo Leiva Wenger who plays his best friend Shavi, and Angelica Radvoldt who plays Amour’s friend and love interest. Directed by Swedish-Iranian Farnaz Arbabi, the show is largely comical yet goes straight to the dark heart of an enduring Swedish racism, while touching on wider prevalent fears around terrorism that resonate with us all.
Writer Hassen Khemeri is a sharp pen, with a wit and directness that is both refreshing and that informs the global debate around our preconceptions that lead to racism. Read his brilliant article here for The New York Times, in which he discusses the inexplicable and unfounded guilt many of us felt growing up in 80s and 90s Europe as children. The play raises the question, in what further ways has the rise of terrorism affected us all and how will it affect future generations inheriting as they are, a world where something as inane as a backpack can pose a real or imagined threat and in which the imagined threat can be as impactful as a real one. Saturday 27th April is the play’s last London run.