"Secretary" Gyllenhaal Joins Original OB Star Emond in Homebody/Kabul L.A. Run, Sept. 21-Nov. 9

News   "Secretary" Gyllenhaal Joins Original OB Star Emond in Homebody/Kabul L.A. Run, Sept. 21-Nov. 9 Film star Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Secretary") joins original Off-Broadway star Linda Emond (Life x 3) for the Frank Galati-helmed staging of Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul at Mark Taper Forum, Sept. 21-Nov. 9.

The newly restructured work will officially open the Taper's 37th season, Oct. 2.

Galati told Playbill On-Line — about the Chicago Steppenwolf run — that the play is now somewhat shorter and has been adjusted structurally. Instead of the long Homebody monologue comprising the entire first act, intermission is now preceded by that speech and four scenes from the Kabul section, which introduces the Homebody's family. The first act now concludes with a new scene between Priscilla, the Homebody's daughter, 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.

Emond originated the homebody role for the New York run. She also was Tony nominated for her role on Broadway in Life x 3. Gyllenhaal who made a splash with her star turn in the film "Secretary" has also appeared on screen in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," "Adaptation," "Donnie Darko" and "Cecil B. DeMented."

The Los Angeles cast also includes Firdous Bamji, Reed Birney, Bill Camp, Rahul Gupta, Maz Jobrani, Dariush Kashani, Marshall Manesh and Rita Wolf. Homebody/Kabul debuted at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop in Dec. of 2001 at a time when the play's setting of Afghanistan has become a major focal point of the world.

With lines like "The present is always an awful place to be," one might think the play had been modified following the Sep. 11 attacks, but Kushner said in fall 2001 that the play had not been altered.

New York critics especially praised the play's first act and overall relevance. The first act is a monologue which recalls the piece's early beginning as a solo show. As a work-in-progress, the play had a run at London's Chelsea Theatre Centre in 1999 starring Kika Markham — whom Kushner had in mind when writing the first act of the play.

For tickets to Homebody/Kabul at the Taper's Music Center, 135 North Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, CA call (213) 972-7231. For more information, visit www.taperahmanson.com.