From London’s West End to a national tour of the UK, Matthew Spangler and Giles Croft’s stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s internationally acclaimed novel The Kite Runner is coming to Edinburgh this week for a run at the King’s Theatre.
A story of youth, transgression and redemption, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Afghanistan and an increasingly intervening America, the play follows in the footsteps of a successful film and other productions put on the stage. On Saturday The Student spoke to Amiera Darwish, who plays the character Soroya, to learn more about this ‘very honest, revealing story about hope’.
Amiera, who has experienced the play, both as an audience member and a performer, believes that this story holds an appeal for any and all audiences: ‘Younger audiences will take something from it, an older generation will pick up on something else’, but the great appeal of this play is the ‘beautiful moments of joy and humour that exist in life’.
Set between Afghanistan and America, the play tracks the very different lives of Amir, Soroya and others, which in turn are very different to the lives of much of the audience, but Amiera was keen to stress that regardless of age and background, ‘everyone will be able to connect’ with its very human and relatable narrative.
Amiera describes the relationship between her character and her on-stage husband Amir as ‘two similar souls with a shared history’, who give each other strength throughout the story, ultimately enabling Amir to become ‘the man he was meant to be’. Both share harrowing memories of times past, and approach their experiences in different ways, intimated on the stage in such a way as to give these experiences a looming psychological presence hanging over the audience.
That said, the play is loaded with warming moments of transcendence of traditional issues of class and social standing, particularly the actions of the character of Amir’s father, Baba. Amiera describes his stance on his servants Ali and Hassan in terms of great friendship; she actually believes that Baba ‘sees them as a part of his family’. This refreshing depiction of the relationship between differing classes in society subverts the conventional opinion on social interaction in stratified society.
Indeed, a key aspect of the treatment of this production is the way in which it addresses aspects of a culture unfamiliar to much of the audience. With growing confidence in our own knowledge of other cultures, based off our exposure to media commenting on them, it is an encouraging feeling to see a production coming to the city which presents a much more human, relatable account of the tradition, culture and general life in a country that most of us still think of, primarily not as a place, but as a war-zone.
The Kite Runner
Runs until Saturday 14 October
Photo credit: Irina Chira