I Call My Brothers explores the anxiety of being labeled ‘other‘ | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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I Call My Brothers explores the anxiety of being labeled ‘other‘

An Arab-Swede navigates the consequences of a car bomb in Stockholm.


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Amor is a normal dude living his life in Stockholm—a big brother, a cousin, a friend, a man in love, a university graduate. Amor is a chemistry nerd who memorizes the periodic table by assigning each element to a person he knows (he's ununtrium himself, "a temporary name for an unconfirmed synthetic element"). Amor is either a romantic or a stalker, probably both, creepily obsessed for 19 or 20 years with his childhood neighbor Valeria. She moved away but still takes his calls. If it had not been for the bombs, Jonas Hassen Khemiri's I Call My Brothers might have been a light piece about who picks up when you ring them, set during that brief, heady era when people actually talked on their mobile phones.

The bombs, though. If the details matter, there actually were two bombs in Stockholm in 2010, which killed the suspected bomber and a few others. But details only matter if you care to distinguish one event or person from another, and Amor is, before all other details, to all eyes including (incidentally? consequently?) his own, brown.

I Call My Brothers is a portrait of the anxiety that results from the invisibility and hypervisibility of being "other"—the unfair responsibility given to any member of such a group, the unintended election to said group, and the impossibility of simply being an uninflected individual, no matter how outré or annoying. Salar Ardebili is a mercurial Amor, leading a strong cast directed by Abhi Shrestha at Interrobang.   v

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