Variety

Afghan theatre troupe braves turmoil and Taliban

New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 19, 2012

Brings adaptation of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors to Delhi

On August 19 last year, a last-minute change in schedule saved the lives of members of Afghan theatre company, Rah-e-Sabz. Suicide bombers and gunmen stormed into the building where the group rehearsed for their play, leaving 12 people dead.

After the fall of the Soviet era, the Taliban had banned theatrical performances in Afghanistan. Undeterred by terror threats and violence, the group continued with its activity. In fact, Rah-e-Sabz was the first group to perform Shakespeare in Afghanistan in 2005.

On August 19, the group was due to rehearse Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors. “I had asked the cast if they wanted to rehearse in the early hours because it was Ramadan, but they said they didn't. That decision saved us,” the group's French director, Corinne Jaber, said in a release.

The rehearsal space was damaged in the attack in the Karte Parwan district of Kabul, which also reduced much of the British Council's headquarters to ruins.

Now, at the invitation the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), the troupe is coming to India and will stage the play in Delhi on May 22.

“It is very encouraging and exciting to see the re-emergence of artistic forms in Afghanistan after a long period of turmoil and instability.

“Promotion of arts and culture invariably brings certain sense of normalcy and stability to any society,” Suresh Goel, Director-General, ICCR, said.

The play is a reinterpretation of the Shakespearean classic, says it director. Performed in the Dari language and sub-titled in English, it seeks to depict the struggles and dreams of contemporary Afghanistan society.

The comedy is set in the bustling backstreets of modern-day Kabul, peppered with laughter and joy that few foreigners ever get to see or hear about.

> aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

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Published on May 19, 2012
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