Timing is everything. When Tony Kushner's Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes appeared on the theatrical scene, New York City and the entire country were still apprehensive about the outbreak of AIDS. Now, almost a decade later, Kushner returns to NYC with his new work, Homebody/Kabul, at a time when the play's setting of Afghanistan has become a major focal point of the world.
The play will run at the New York Theater Workshop Dec. 5-Jan. 27 with a Dec. 19 opening. However, anxious fans can catch excerpts from the show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's Peter B. Lewis Theatre at the Sackler Center for Arts Education in uptown Manhattan Oct. 28-29. The sneak peek is part of the museum's "Works & Process at the Guggenheim" program and will conclude with a discussion with the production's director Declan Donnelan and designer Nick Ormerod.
Homebody/Kabul follows a British woman fascinated by Afghanistan and her encounter with an Afghan man whose fingers were cruelly severed. In the second part, the woman's husband and daughter search to find her in the nation's capital after she has mysteriously disappeared.
The first act is a monologue which recalls the piece's early stage as a solo show. The work-in-progress had a run at London's Chelsea Theatre Centre in 1999 starring British actress Kika Markham, the actress Kushner had in mind when it was written.
The cast of the NYTW production includes Dylan Baker, Firdous Bamji, Yusef Bulos, Bill Camp, Jay Charan, Linda Emond, Kelly Hutchinson, Dariush Kashani, Sean T. Krishnan, Joseph Kamal and Rita Wolf. Olivier Award-winning director Donnelan makes his American debut helming the new Kushner work. For tickets to the Guggenheim preview of Homebody/Kabul at 1071 Fifth Ave. (at 89th Street), call (212) 423-3587. The performance begins at 8 PM. For more information on this and other programs at the museum, visit http://www.guggenheim.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez