I walk out of a theater after having just seen a play, I love it when I get the
chance to leave feeling moved by a plot that had a lot of substance, and the
inspiration to reflect on what the content meant to me. This fortunately ended up being my experience
as I left the premiere of Language Rooms at the Los Angeles Theatre
Center. I appreciate when a play gets
you to think deeply, but it is especially a plus when it is accompanied by a
lot of witty dialogue that is truthful and jaw dropping, hence the term
Rooms, which was written by Yussef El Guindi and directed by Evren Odcikin, is
a dark comedy about several different themes, such as American identity, immigration, bureaucracy, personal loyalty, terrorism and more. Golden Thread Productions and Latino Theater
Company are presenting the play. Golden
Thread Productions, a non-profit that is San Francisco-based, is America's
leading theater company devoted to Middle Eastern voices and experiences, and
is bringing the new prize-winning work to Los Angeles by the man who is
currently the most highly regarded Arab American playwright.
The main character of the play is Ahmed, who is fiercely loyal to his
adopted country, the United States of America. He believes that he works hard
and well at his job, but he finds that loyalty called into question. Why?
Beyond the fact that some people are scared of the facts that his name is Ahmed
and that he is a Muslim, he doesn’t quite fit in. He has a few quirks that get
in the way of his connecting socially with his associates. His work is important to him: He’s a
translator (and interrogator) at a CIA “black site,” an interrogation facility
at an undisclosed location, part of the Homeland Security apparatus. But his
job status is not secure. He has a
chance to remove himself from suspicion. All he has to do is successfully pull
off the interrogation of a new suspected terrorist sympathizer. But Ahmed can’t
imagine his own shock and surprise when he discovers who the new prisoner
really is….and what the captive’s motives actually are.
The play did a great job of
portraying the social phenomena of Islamophobia, which is a prejudice against,
hatred or irrational fear of Islam or Muslims.
While it is true that people who identify as Muslim have committed
terrorism, it is also true that there are some incredibly destructive mass
generalizations that are so often taking place.
Language Rooms was able to creatively highlight the injustice and
dehumanization that occurs because of Islamophobia. The play manages to address such a heavy
subject, while also keeping its audience laughing at some truly hilarious
comedic moments, and is done in a brilliantly balanced sort of way, that helps
to keep us mindful and engaged.
I would definitely
recommend Language rooms, which I gratefully found to be such an incredibly
poignant theatrical performance.
Recommended for ages 16+, Show contains very brief full
frontal male nudity (non sexual)
WHEN: June 3rd – June 24th | Thursday – Saturday 8pm |
ADMISSION: General: $40 | Students, Seniors & Veterans:
$20 | $10 Thursday
WHERE: Los Angeles
Theatre Center, Theatre 2
514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
ONLINE TICKETING: www.thelatc.org