Blood and Gifts, Acclaimed History Play of Intervention in Afghanistan, Begins in CA June 12

News   Blood and Gifts, Acclaimed History Play of Intervention in Afghanistan, Begins in CA June 12
La Jolla Playhouse's new production of J.T. Rogers' Blood and Gifts, the play about international military intervention in Afghanistan, plays June 12-July 8. Lucie Tiberghien directs the production at the Mandell Weiss Forum in La Jolla, CA.

The play had its U.S. premiere earlier this season in a separate production by Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi Newhouse Theater. The La Jolla staging features Amir Arison as Colonel Afridi; Kelly AuCoin (LJP's A Dram of Drummhicit) as James Warnock, Benjamin Burdick as Speechwriter, Demosthenes Chrysan as Abdullah Kahn, Donald Sage MacKay as Walter Barnes, Daniel Pearce as Simon Craig, Triney Sandoval as Dmitri Gromov, Babak Tafti as Saeed, Geoffrey Wade as Senator Birch and Touheed Yousef as Mujahid. The cast also includes UC San Diego M.F.A. students in various roles Ngozi Anyanwu, Danvir Singh Grewal, Sarah Halford, Regan Linton, Scott Patteson and Maurice Williams.

According to LJP, "Blood and Gifts tells the story of the secret spy war behind the official Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s. Spanning a decade and playing out in Washington, DC, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the play offers up a slice of historical fiction laced with dark humor, as it follows the character of CIA operative Jim Warnock and his struggles to stop the Soviet Army's destruction of Afghanistan. The ground constantly shifts for Jim and his British, Russian and Pakistani counterparts as the political and personal alliances between the men keep changing. In this thrilling, high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse, Blood and Gifts depicts the unknown men who shaped one of the greatest historical events in recent history, the repercussions of which continue to shape our world."

Rogers is the author of the plays The Overwhelming, Madagascar, White People, Murmuring in a Dead Tongue and Seeing the Elephant, which was nominated for the Kesselring Prize for Best New American Play. An earlier version of Blood and Gifts was presented as part of a cycle of 11 plays about Afghanistan titled The Great Game: Afghanistan at the Tricycle Theatre in London and at London's National Theatre in 2010.

The La Jolla creative team includes Kris Stone, scenic designer; Charlotte Devaux Shields, costumedesigner; Matt Richards, lighting designer; UCSD theatre professor Shahrokh Yadegari,
sound designer; Shirley Fishman, Dramaturg.

Tiberghien's credits include Barcelona by Bess Wohl (workshop at Ojai Playwriting Conference and upcoming production at Contemporary American Theater Festival), That Old Black Magic by Koffi Kwahule (workshop at the Lark and upcoming workshop at NYTW), Craig Wright's The Pavilion (Drama Desk nomination for best play, Rattlestick Theater, CATF) and Blind (world premiere at Rattlestick), Augusta by Richard Dresser (world premiere, CATF), Stephen Belber's Geometry of Fire (world premiere, Rattlestick Theater, New York Stage and Film) and A Small Melodramatic Story (world premiere, LAByrinth), Lee Blessing's Great Falls (world premiere, Humana Festival), The Winning Streak (George Street Playhouse) and Flag Day (CATF), Katori Hall's Hoodoo Love (world premiere, Cherry Lane) and Hurt Village (Juilliard Playwright’s Festival), We Are Here by Tracy Thorne (CATF), among others. For information on the Playhouse's 2012-2013 season, visit or call the Playhouse Box Office at (858) 550-1010.

Demosthenes Chrysan and Babak Tafti in rehearsal
Demosthenes Chrysan and Babak Tafti in rehearsal Photo by Dana Holliday
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