Emond played the "Homebody" character to wide acclaim in the December 2001 premiere of the drama. Gyllenhall, the star of the film, "Secretary," began her involvement with the work in Los Angeles.
Also starring will be the entire Los Angeles cast, which included Firdous Bamji, Reed Birney, Bill Camp, Rahul Gupta, Maz Jobrani, Dariush Kashani, Marshall Manesh and Rita Wolf.
The production offers the New York theatregoing public an unusual chance to view two versions of a new drama within a relatively short period of time.
The two-part, 3-1/2-hour opus was extensively revised in productions in Chicago and Los Angeles. The new mounting will be directed by Frank Galati, who staged the Steppenwolf Theatre Company staging in Chicago and the Mark Taper engagement in Los Angeles. The later production ended on Nov. 9.
Galati previously told Playbill On-Line that the play, set in London and Afghanistan, is now somewhat shorter and has been re-structured. Instead of the long Homebody monologue comprising the entire first act—as it did Off-Broadway—intermission is now preceded by that speech and four scenes from the Kabul section, which introduces the family of the Homebody character (played by Emond). The first act now concludes with a new scene between Priscilla, the Homebody's daughter (played by Gyllenhaal), and the Afghan guide she befriends. In New York, the guide was played by an old man. The character is now considerably younger. "It was interesting to make this relationship more complicated that just this old geezer taking this young girl around for the purpose of smuggling information through her to supporters of the Northern Alliance," said Galati.
Homebody/Kabul debuted at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop at a time when the play's setting of Afghanistan has become a major focal point of the world, due to the Bush administration's post-9/11 war against Al Queda, the terrorist group which was then based in that country. Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, continue to be in the news, due to the still-festering U.S. military situations in both lands.