Exploring the history of Afghan-Anglo conflicts from 1842 to the present.
By Julie LaPorte
The Great Game: Afghanistan is entering its last week playing at the Shakespeare Theatre. Commissioned by Nicolas Kent, fourteen writers gathered to present a cohesive look at the history and culture of Afghanistan and its interactions with the Western world. Directed by Kent and Indhu Rubasingham, The Great Game: Afghanistan is intended to start a dialog, increase awareness and put a human face to the headlines filling newspapers. The Great Game: Afghanistan is at Sidney Harman Hall through September 25.
“Information sparks debate, and theatre can often be the catalyst,” writes Kent, the Artistic Director for the Tricycle Theatre. This explosive production will do just that.
The Great Game: Afghanistan is a compilation of short vignettes exploring the history of Afghan-Anglo conflicts since 1842 to the present. They are arranged into three parts that can be seen separately or in one day. The stories are told from the perspectives of the Afghans, the British, the Russians, the Americans – from soldiers and mothers, lovers and politicians, idealists and cynics. The play is powerful, emotionally intense, occasionally funny and oftentimes difficult to watch.
The writing is superb – the amount of research that has gone into a work of this magnitude is staggering and there are sections that are constantly changing to reflect the continuing conflict. The fourteen writers involved are Stephen Jeffreys, Siba Shakib, Ron Hutchinson, Amit Gupta, Joy Wilkinson, David Edgar, Lee Blessing, David Greig, Colin Teevan, Ben Ockrent, Abi Morgan, Richard Bean, Richard Norton Taylor and Simon Stephens.
The acting is honest, beautiful and compelling – each person plays many different roles and they move between them with the ease of someone slipping into a new coat. The cast includes Daniel Betts, Sheena Bhattessa, Michael Cochrane, Karl Davies, Vincent Ebrahim, Nabil Elouahabi, Sherren Martineau, Tom McKay, Daniel Rabin, Danny Rahim, Raad Rawi, Jemma Redgrave, Cloudia Swann and Rick Warden.
This production is a cultural happening that should not be missed. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Shakespeare Theatre.
Julie LaPorte is a freelance writer living outside Washington, D.C. For the past year she has served as a columnist for Washington Life Magazine – penning reviews for the Performing Arts and the Paint the Town columns. She also works as a political marketing copywriter for candidates in local, state and national campaigns as well as for Congressional franked mail.