The uplifting story of bringing Shakespeare to Afghanistan, with men and women appearing together for the first time since liberation.
In 2005, a group of actors in Kabul performed Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost to the cheers of Afghan audiences and rave reviews from foreign journalists. For the first time in years, men and women had appeared on stage together. The future held no limits, the actors believed.
In this fast-moving, fondly told, and frequently very funny account, Qais Akbar Omar and Stephen Landrigan capture the triumphs and foibles of the actors as they extend their Afghan passion for poetry to Shakespeare's. Both authors were part of the production. Qais, a journalist, served as assistant director and interpreter for Parisian actress, Corinne Jaber, who had come to Afghanistan on holiday and returned to direct the play. Stephen, himself a playwright, assembled a team of Afghan translators to fashion a script in Dari as poetic as Shakespeare's. This chronicle of optimism plays out against the heartbreak of knowing that things in Afghanistan have not turned out the way the actors expected. Yet.
Stephen Landrigan is a former journalist who has reported for The Washington Post and BBC Radio, among others. He went to Afghanistan in 2004 and now lives in Massachusetts where he works with the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) that prepares young Afghan women to study at major American universities.
During the Taliban era Qais Akbar Omar ran a carpet factory in his home, providing employment for forty young women. He is the author of A Fort of Nine Towers.