By Jonas Hassen Khemiri. Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Directed by Evren Odcikin, 2015 National Directors Fellow.

February 09, 2017 - March 04, 2017

7:00pm, Thu/Fri/Sat/Mon, James Levin Theatre. Previews February 9 – 11 & 16 (No show February 13).

80 min


Something has happened. A car. An explosion. And a city is paralyzed with fear. But Amor has an important errand to run. He walks the streets with his backpack and his cell phone, doing his best to blend in. But what looks normal? A funny and fierce showdown with paranoia, I CALL MY BROTHERS offers a 24-hour journey inside the head of a young, Arab-American man, suddenly a stranger in his own city. What happens when the lines between reality and fantasy, love and fear, criminal and victim, become increasingly blurred? REGIONAL PREMIERE

"Intense and visceral… a portrait of the lasting psychological effects of being subjected to and internalizing racism... an immersive look into the internal workings and emotional state of man who is an outsider in his own hometown." (DC Theatre Scene)

**Please be advised, the play contains profanity and references to adult topics.**

Cast: Salar Ardebili, Andrea Belser, Rocky Encalada, Abdelghani Kitab

The newly-renovated James Levin Theatre is fully ADA-accessible, featuring a newly-installed patron elevator and the addition of gender-neutral, wheelchair-accessible restrooms.

The Creative Production Team Includes:

Jesse Reagan Hernon - Stage Manager
Douglas Puskas - Scenic Designer
Wes Calkin - Lighting Designer
Alison Garrigan - Costume Designer
James Gillen Kosmatka - Sound Designer
Charles Hargrave - Board Operator

Remarkable Rating:



“Powerful, visceral… a poignant portrait of next to normal.”
Bob Abelman, The Morning Journal

“It’s not about divisiveness; it’s about unification.”
Applaud Squad Reviews


Jonas Hassen Khemiri, born in Sweden in 1978, is the author of three novels and six plays. His first novel, One Eye Red, received the Borås Tidning award for best literary debut. His second novel, Montecore, won several literary awards including the Swedish Radio Award for best novel of the year and the PO Enquist Literary Prize for the most promising young European writer. Mr. Khemiri’s books and plays have been translated into more than fifteen languages. In 2011 he received a Village Voice Obie Award for playwriting. His plays include Invasion! (USA, France, Belgium, Germany -11 different productions, Austria, Switzerland, UK, Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, South Korea, Norway; English translation published by Samuel French), God Times Five (USA, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, UK), We Are A Hundred (USA, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Norway, Denmark), and Apathy For Beginners (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). Other accomplishments and awards include International Residency for Emerging Playwrights (Royal Court, London), Scholarship from the Swedish Academy, and shortlist for the August Prize for Montecore (2006); Swedish Theatre Biennial selection for Invasion!, Per Olov Enquist Prize for Young Authors Facing the Future, VI magazine Literary Prize for Montecore, Colombine Scholarship for playwriting, and the Bellman Award (2007); Swedish Radio’s Prize for Best Short Story (2008); HEDDA prize for best play for We Who Are Hundred (Norway) and DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm Writer in Residency (Germany) (2009); John Fante Literary Prize for Montecore (Italy) (2010); and the Ibsen Prize for playwriting and Henning Mankell scholarship (2011). www.khemiri.se


About the Director: Evren Odcikin

Evren Odcikin was awarded the 2015 National Directors Fellowship by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, National New Play Network, the Kennedy Center, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. Based in San Francisco, he is a director and producer with credits at Golden Thread Productions (where he serves as the Director of New Plays and Marketing) including Yussef El Guindi’s Language Rooms, in San Francisco and Los Angeles (critic’s pick for LA Times), Mona Mansour’s Urge For Going, Kevin Artigue’s The Most Dangerous Highway in the World (Theatre Bay Area Award Recommended Production), Denmo Ibrahim’s Ecstasy | a waterfable, as well as numerous short plays in ReOrient Festivals. He has directed and developed new plays at South Coast Rep, the Lark, O’Neill Theatre Center, InterAct Theatre Company, National New Plays Network Showcase, Magic Theatre, Crowded Fire, Impact Theatre, and Playwrights Foundation with such writers as Eugenie Chan, Christopher Chen, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Prince Gomolvilas, Garret Groenveld, David Jacobi, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Michael Lew, Rehana Mirza, and Nick Nanna Mwaluko, amongst many others. A graduate of Princeton University, Evren received the 2013 TITAN Award by Theatre Bay Area; and was selected as an Emerging Theatre Leader by TCG for their American Express Leadership Bootcamp. www.odcikin.com


A Note from the Director…

Finding hope in community.

At this time, when the Muslim and Middle Eastern communities are explicitly under attack, it feels like a brave act to put up this play, I Call My BrothersTo stand up and say, I am a Muslim artist. To create a work that might challenge and even anger some people both outside and inside these communities.

I Call My Brothers is funny, deeply challenging and has an almost punk disregard for expected theatrical structure. It makes me laugh, cry and then laugh again. It has hip hop swagger, poetic imagination and masterful character writing. I recognize so clearly the immigrant journey – that unique place of being caught between two worlds – fitting in one minute and finding you are off-step the next.

Amor, the young man at the center of I Call My Brothers, is not a model minority. But then, neither am I. He is a deeply flawed man-boy unable to face the forces that are much bigger than him. But he is also surrounded by community and love.

That sense of community and love that I Call My Brothers fosters is why I want to direct this play at this time. It’s what I need and I know it’s what a lot of people need right now. Muslim or not. Middle Eastern or not. Immigrant or not.

Evren Odcikin

2015 National Directors Fellow & Director of I Call My Brothers


“…a bomb exploded in downtown Ankara…”

I Call My Brothers’  director responds to terror in his hometown.

Click here or the thumbnail to the left to read Evren’s full post.

“A month ago, a bomb exploded in downtown Ankara only blocks from where my brother works. I woke up to a few updates in my newsfeed, mostly from my Turkish friends. Saw the picture of where it had happened, lost my breath. A very scary call to make. He seemed less anxious than I was. ‘We’re alive. For today,’ he said with a dry laugh. Forced humor used as armor, something I’m very used to having grown up in Turkey. In the 90’s, mom wouldn’t let me go to the movies, as movie theatres were a common target for suicide bombers. I’d laugh in her face every single time.”

A Peek into the Process: Inspirational Videos

Haffa Guzz / Badass Girl – Lilla Namo

When first working on the show, Evren googled “Swedish Arab Hip Hop,” not expecting much and was shocked at the depth of some of the work. Lilla Namo was the first rapper that drew his attention. Her music, her style and her crew in the videos are all huge inspirations for the look of CPT’s upcoming production.

Hard Time – Seinabo Sey

Another find from Evren’s research was Swedish-Gambian artist Seinabo Sey. This song, with it’s driving beats and spot-on lyrics, plays a significant role in Evren’s plans for the production. He also found out later that Jonas (the playwright) knows Seinabo Sey and that she presented him with the prestigious August Award in 2015.

Average Type – Narcy featuring Meryem Saci

Narcy has long been at the vanguard of Middle Eastern-American hip hop. You may find that the style and attitude of this song are represented in I Call My Brothers.

Hamdulillah – Narcy featuring Shadia Mansour

Evren has always loved the diversity that this video presents of the Middle Eastern and North African communities and hopes to reflect a similar diversity with this cast and in the way these identities are approached within the production.

Evren Odcikin & Raymond Bobgan on WKYC

Click here or on the thumbnail to the left to watch the full video.

“In our current moment where [the Muslim] community is explicitly being attacked and singled out in different ways, it feels important for us to start owning our own story, and actually working on changing the narrative. I appreciate plays like I Call My Brothers that allow us to be ourselves. And by that I mean not just positive portrayals, but that we get to be as flawed, as interesting, as anyone else. Because sometimes that ‘Good Muslim/Bad Muslim’ narrative is very dehumanizing.”

– Evren Odcikin, Director of I Call My Brothers