Seattle Rep’s A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS: Beyond the Theatre

What happens when a compelling work of fiction is adapted into a script for the stage?  It comes alive!   See for yourself in the Seattle Repertory Theater’s production of A Thousand Splendid Suns. Khalid Hosseini’s tale portrays a 14 year old orphan’s forced marriage to an abusive husband. At first, her relationship with his first wife is strained and then, the women bond around their mutual plight.  Witness how, war, love, death, loyalty and betrayal shape the fate of each character.

In the book Love Crimes of Kabul three women prepare their legal defense. They face years in prison for committing crimes of the heart or “moral crimes” such as adultery, premarital sex or running away. In A Thousand Splendid Suns Laila’s love for Tariq is such a crime.  Their fierce devotion for one another is similar to The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet a true story about a couple who escape Afghanistan and build new lives in the United States.

The film, Blue Ghosts: Women’s Rights in Afghanistan reveals the range of laws that govern Afghan women’s lives and social status in government, marriage, religion and society.   Another approach, to the complex subject of the burqa, can be viewed in the film the Burqa and the Confused Afghan. Men and women offer opinions and interpretations about the origins and history of the burqa, its association with Afghan culture and its uses as a political tool.

Besides the immense loss of life, significant costs are paid by members of a society embroiled in war.  Education, is just one of them. Under Taliban rule, it is against the law to for girls to go to school. Why, for instance, would a girl burn herself in protest?  Because, she says, I am the Beggar of the World and have been forbidden to write landays, folk couplets composed by her, mostly, illiterate people, the Pashtuns This is not the case, however, in The Favored Daughter as Fawzia, after being left by her distraught mother to die in the sun grows up to become the first girl in her family to go to school.

While many girls and women hunger for knowledge, one of their major responsibilities is to cook and care for others. Teach yourself to prepare tasty regional foods of the Middle East using classic and contemporary recipes with clear instructions by using the beautifully illustrated Complete Middle East Cookbook. A travelogue can enhance your understanding of the geographical significance of a region, its people and cultural riches.  The Silk Road: Central Asia, Afghanistan and Iran broadens our knowledge of the history and importance of the ancient trade route and the cities and peoples it served.

The playing of music, singing and dancing were forbidden by the Taliban.  Centuries of musical traditions were silenced. Before these prohibitions, a rich and vibrant tradition of music-making thrived in Afghanistan.  Ustad Mohammad Omar is one of the many musicians who were deprived of the opportunity to continue in his profession.  Fortunately, his voice is not lost to history.  Virtuoso from Afghanistan is a reissued of the work of a musician whose music was banned by the Taliban.

Find more resources to enhance your understanding of the play and its characters on the resource list A Thousand Splendid Suns.

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