Homebody/Kabul, the new work by Tony Kushner that opened to good reviews Dec. 19 at the New York Theatre Workshop and extended twice, will close March 3. The drama that clocked in at four hours with two intermissions began performances at the downtown Manhattan venue Dec. 5 and was originally scheduled to end its run Jan. 27. Prior to the first preview, however, the play extended to Feb. 10 and then again.
London will receive the play and its original director Declan Donnellan May 10-June 22. British actress Kika Markham, whom Kushner had in mind when the first act of the play was written, will star in the production at the Young Vic Theatre. The show will enjoy stagings at Trinity Repertory Company March 15-April 21 in Providence, Rhode Island and at California's Berkeley Repertory Theatre April 19-June 9.
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. Almost a decade later, Kushner returned 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.
With lines like "The present is always an awful place to be," one might think the play had been modified following recent events, but Kushner assured an audience at a sneak peek the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Oct. 29 that the play had not been altered.
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. 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. The work-in-progress had a run at London's Chelsea Theatre Centre in 1999 starring Markham.
The cast of the NYTW production includes Dylan Baker, Firdous Bamji, Yusef Bulos, Bill Camp, Jay Charan, Linda Emond, Kelly Hutchinson, Joseph Kamal, Dariush Kashani, Sean T. Krishnan and Rita Wolf.
Olivier Award-winning director Donnelan made his American debut helming the new Kushner work. His creative team includes set and costume design by Nick Ormerod, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt, and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier.
Kushner fans can watch the scribe's directorial work at the Public Theater as he helms Helen by Ellen McLaughlin slated to begin March 19. His work in progress, Caroline or Change, a new musical collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori will also be produced by the Public Theater during the 2002-03 season. George C. Wolfe will direct the work. His 1993 two-part epic drama, Angels in America, is being filmed by Mike Nichols for HBO.
Visit the NYTW's website at www.nytw.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez