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  Language Rooms at The Den Theatre

Language Rooms

The Den Theatre
1329-1333 N. Milwaukee Chicago

Ahmed loves America, and he's proud to prove his patriotism whenever possible. He pays his taxes, he dresses for success at the office, and he's made a point to be the best translator at this particular Homeland Security detainment facility. So when a rumor swirls around the water cooler calling his loyalty into question, he works to do whatever's necessary to maintain his reputation as one of "the good ones." But when you're an immigrant, can you ever truly be at home in a country always ready to view you as an enemy? An episode of The Office that slowly morphs into 1984, LANGUAGE ROOMS examines the paranoia polluting our political climate.

Presented by Broken Nose Theatre

Thru - May 18, 2019

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 773-697-3830

  Language Rooms Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...El Guindi deliberately pushes the answer to the question of Samir's guilt or innocence to the side of the narrative. After all, as Samir tells Ahmed, "Unless your being innocent is as interesting to them as being guilty, you will not be believed." Broken Nose's chilling production makes the case that what seems absurd and unthinkable today will be documentary fodder tomorrow."
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Kerry Reid

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Under director Kaiser Zaki Ahmed, the four actors ( who have all impressed me before ) are quite fearless and convincing, especially Ardebeli and Dardai whose roles expose them—literally—to the naked glare of interrogation. The yellow-white cinderblock bunker scenic design by Sotirios Livaditis provides an appropriately threatening environment. Will Quam's sound design adds effective punctuation. Language Rooms is nearly 10 years old, but is as current ( regrettably ) as the country is today."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...The current production, celebrating its Midwest Premiere is “Language Rooms” written by Yussef El Guindi. It is a story that will definitely get your juices flowing as it deals with being an “American” in the true sense of the word. Smoothly directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed, “Language Rooms” , this is a story about the agencies that we know are out there, but most of us only read about. The first characters we meet are Ahmed ( Salar Ardebili) and his co-worker, Nasser (Bassam Abdelfattah). Ahmed is proud of who he is and how despite his family, he was able to move up the ladder and become an important part of the Government that he loves. He does everything he is supposed to, from the way he dresses ( for success, to be sure) to his walking the straight and narrow and being the best interrogator at this facility."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...That same directorial care guides a quartet of capable performers to shockingly vulnerable places. I don’t have space to speak about all of them, but I will say that Dardai’s Samir has the difficult job of being the only person who can differentiate between big things and small things (maybe), becoming a moral through-line in a play that knows how fickle culture can be regarding ethics."
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Jay Van Ort

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...This is not so much an entertainment, but a play for the thinking theatergoer. Audiences will find much to discover and consider within this examination of the secret workings of American Homeland Security. It will probably enlighten and will certainly surprise, even shock, most patrons. But, without any question, no one will leave the theatre unmoved by what they’ll experience during this riveting drama."
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Colin Douglas - Highly Recommended

"...The production boasts extremely strong performances, especially Ardebili as Ahmed, the rookie; and Dardai, who delivers a perfect portrait of a good-hearted immigrant under a torrent of unfair questioning. I had a chance to see this show twice, April 22 and April 26 – and can say Ardebili had refined and heightened his delivery, and the dynamic between Ahmed and Nasser was even more intensely expressed. Director Kaiser Zaki Ahmed specializes in actor-driven new American plays, and has assistant director credits on two recent, illustrious productions: Guards at the Taj (Steppenwolf) and Hand to God (Victory Gardens)."
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Bill Esler

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...Language Rooms is smoothly directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed and the performances by Ardebili and Dardai are solid. The scenic design, featuring three doorways and a wall that moves from stage front to back helps make the small Den stage work effectively."
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Nancy Bishop

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed, LANGUAGE ROOMS hits its emotional high mark with Samir (Bilal Dardai), a suspect with whom, it turns out, Ahmed has a major connection. Samir first appears in a traditional tunic to describe the joy of obtaining a U.S. visas for his family versus the reality of pulling up roots and starting over. The former engineer, who now scratches out a living with a little shop that caters to fellow Muslims, compares the immigrant experience to baseball: The batter can’t go back. He has to hit the ball and run the bases."
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Susan Lieberman

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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