By special arrangement with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, Critical Stages Touring will present a live-streamed reading of Homebody/Kabul, featuring Simon Burke, Osamah Sami, Caroline Brazier and a stellar Australian cast this October.
Presented over two nights this rehearsed reading will be raising funds to support two charities providing life-saving community support and programs in Afghanistan – the NY/Kabul-based Women for Afghan Women and Australian-based Mahboba’s Promise.
The two 100-minute livestreams will be broadcast live on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd October at 7.30pm Sydney time via their Facebook page and YouTube channel. Viewers will be asked to donate to each charity directly in lieu of buying ‘tickets’ to the event, which will not be recorded or stay on either platform after the performance.
Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul is the story of a lonely London housewife and the far-reaching effects of her fascination with Afghanistan, set off by an outdated guidebook. Set in 1998, and written before “September 11” and “Taliban” became part of our vocabulary, the story begins with a thrilling monologue from the Homebody, played by Caroline Brazier (Rake, Packed to the Rafters).
After the Homebody disappears into Afghanistan, her husband and daughter desperately search for her, becoming ever more ensnared in a culture ripped apart by centuries of turmoil.
Chris Bendall, who directed the Theatre@Risk production in Melbourne returns to direct this new presentation, reuniting with original cast members Majid Shokor (Stateless ABC), Tyler Coppin (Lone Wolf, Born Yesterday MTC) and Wahibe Moussa, who will reprise the role of ‘Mahala’. Moussa won the Green Room Award for Best Female Actor for her performance in the 2007 production.
This stellar cast of nine, who play twelve characters, will also feature performances from Geraldine Hakewill (Wanted, Ms Fisher’s MODern Murder Mysteries), Osamah Sami (Ali’s Wedding), Mansoor Noor (Omar & Dawn), and Reza Momenzada (Gloria). The performers will be connected from their homes in three cities.
Chris Bendall initiated the project after the most recent events in Afghanistan. “Re-reading it recently I was struck by Tony Kushner’s remarkable dexterity of language, his wit, and the hope that he offers – that through knowledge we might gain a greater understanding of the world we live in,” he said.
“Kushner has extraordinary skill creating drama at the intersection of the personal and the political. In this vast, moving and often richly comic play, he creates complex characters searching for connection, and yearning to be understood, against the backdrop of Afghanistan under Taliban rule.”
“It was a work that turned out to be eerily prescient when it premiered in 2001, and now 20 years on has only gained in resonance and relevance,” said Mr Bendall.
The current crisis in Afghanistan has forced nearly 400,000 Afghans to flee their homes, towns, and provinces seeking safer refuge. The team at Critical Stages Touring reached out to the arts community to find a way to support on-the-ground services for the most vulnerable.
Women for Afghan Women (WAW) is the largest women’s rights organization in Afghanistan. Based in New York and Kabul, they rescue and defend women who are survivors of violence, including helping them escape the Taliban. WAW has improved the lives of over 1.36 million women, children, and their families, with a presence in every province in Afghanistan.
Mahboba’s Promise was founded by Mahboba Rawi, an Afghan refugee and now an Australian citizen, who has experienced first-hand the effects of a country torn apart by years of war and civil unrest.
With Mahboba’s intimate knowledge of Afghanistan, Mahboba’s Promise was able to respond effectively and flexibly, to directly meet the needs of the country’s orphans and widows. Since then, Mahboba’s Promise has established schools, shelters and health clinics across Afghanistan and provided numerous sponsorships to widows and orphans in need.
Mahboba’s Promise is currently running an emergency appeal to raise funds to supply shelter, food, water and other necessities to 500 displaced families in a camp outside of Kabul.
Director: Chris Bendall | Featuring: Caroline Brazier, Simon Burke, Tyler Coppin, Geraldine Hakewill, Reza Momenzada, Wahibe Moussa, Mansoor Noor, Osamah Sami, Majid Shokor | Sound Design: Jethro Woodward | Senior Producer: Melanie Carolan | Creative Producer: Bernadette Fam
HOMEBODY/KABUL will be live-streamed on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd October – 7.30pm (AEST). To register, visit: www.eventbrite.com.au For more information, visit: www.criticalstages.com.au for details.
Image: The Cast of HOMEBODY/KABUL – courtesy of Critical Stages Touring