A few years ago a large number of children in Sweden fell ill. They stopped eating and drinking, they lost contact with the outside world, they became apathetic. Their parents were refugees who either waited for or had already been denied asylum. Suddenly media, internet, everyone and his uncle knew exactly what had happened: the kids were manipulators, faking their sickness in order to stay in Sweden. But what really happened?
In a series of absurd and comical situations we follow the real (sort of) story of what happened to the apathetic refugee children. Who was manipulating who? Was it the kids, the people or the politicians who were apathetic?
Welcome into a black comedy manipulation machine, where six actors share 34 roles.
Apathy for Beginners is inspired by the book The Apathetic, written by journalist Gellert Tamas.
“Not only skilfully performed, but also genuinely important for a democratic discourse … Khemiri is a brilliant playwright.” /SvD
“extremely intelligent theater … the actors absolutely shine… Mainly Niavarani, who with her comedic timing and magnetic charisma is impossible to stop watching.” /Upsala Nya Tidning
“Brilliant, black and hilarious satire … a blazing transparency … Sara Giese’s directing unlocks play … terribly fun made.”/DN
“Deeply touching, stunningly funny and ultimately challenging … The ensemble is brilliant.” / Aftonbladet
“Surprise and shock because suddenly we stare ourselves in the face … an ensemble in top form” /Nummer.se
“It is an amazing achievement to turn an actual scandal from only a few years back into crushing comedy and brilliant theatre. But then Khemiri is a masterful stylist.” /Göteborgs-Posten
“Vital, burning theater … takes us both to comic heights and down into the black, tragic lows. It’s a team victory.” /Nummer.se
“Jonas Hassen Khemiri has a phenomenal language, a wonderful lightness, with fantastic associations” /Kulturnyheterna SVT
“Fiction meets reality. Blanks are filled with fabrications and speculations; the point is that here they are not claimed to be anything but that. With clichés and black humour Apathy for Beginners invites you to think in troubling terms about urgent questions, without either simplifying or avoiding the question of guilt.” /Svenska Dagbladet
‘Word against word, and it fits a playful piece designer like Khemiri perfectly” /Expressen
“Jonas Hassen Khemiri is a genius … Khemiri possesses a breathtaking ability to twist and turn language … an extremely well-tuned small ensemble … The play is terribly powerful and effectively narrated at breakneck pace.” /LO magazine
“Anne Bader has staged this play as a cool/sparing but still jolly and partly entertaining search for the truth… A very thought-provoking play without a definite ending.” /Hamburger Abendblatt
“The well-known Swedish author Jonas Hassen Khemiri wrote a play with the manipulation of truth as its theme.”/Szene Hamburg
“What is the truth? What is true? What is a mere rumour? What is fabricated? When Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s highly topical play Apathy for Beginners ends, no one knows for certain any more.” /Westfalen Blatt
“Jonas Hassen Khemiri has adapted Tamas Gellert’s book of reports of apathetic refugee children and developed it into dramatic artistry, applying much of the theatrical range to highlight the multiplicity of a political phenomenon… Uncomfortable theatre at its best.”/Neue Westfälische Zeitung
Apathy for Beginners premiered at Folkteatern in Gothenburg in the fall of 2011, directed by Nina Wester. Second premier at the Stockholm City Theater in the spring of 2013, directed by Sara Giese. It has also been performed in Germany and Italy.