Homeland insecurity - Page 2

Samir (Terry Lamb) goes from interrogation victim to estranged father in a single scene in Language Rooms.

Ahmed, desperate to prove himself red-white-and-blue, finally gets his chance when he's handed a new prisoner to interrogate — a man who turns out to be his estranged father (played with agile charm by Terry Lamb). If the set-up initially feels a little neat, it's at this stage that the play gets really interesting and the dialogue most subtle, as father and son act as mutual confessors amid the distorting input from surrogate father (and stand-in for the nation state) Kevin. As the play's title suggests, the freighted specificity of language is at the center of it all — a theme never more poignantly conveyed than when Ahmed's father recounts the first English words he taught Ahmed years earlier, when America was still a hopeful dream a father was instilling in his son.

Ahmed has made good on that dream, while also perverting it out of recognition. "Better to ride the lion than be eaten by it," offers his father encouragingly. But a moment later his father is turning over in his hands the tools of Ahmed's trade with wonder and disgust. "It is not for you to get me out of here," his father decides. "It is for me to get you out." *


Through Dec. 11

Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. (no show Thurs/24); Sun, 7 p.m., $20-$28

Thick House

1695 18th St., SF



Related articles

  • 'Venus in Fur' electrifies at A.C.T.

  • Goldies 2014 Performance/Music: Brontez Purnell

    "I romanticize the outsider. There's always going to be this running theme of me versus the world."

  • From the ground up

    Stanford's Festival Jérôme Bel celebrates the 'non-dance' pioneer

  • Also from this author

  • No limits

    Austin, Texas' Fusebox festival is 10 years young, wildly eclectic, transnational — and free!

  • Sounds of silence

    Nina Raine's 'Tribes' explores a specific and general deafness

  • Moscow weather report

    Notes from the Russia Case offerings at the Golden Mask Festival