THE KITE RUNNER – WYNDHAM’S THEATRE
The international bestselling novel and film, is a powerful story of friendship spanning cultures and continents, following one man’s journey to find redemption. Adapted into a stunning stage production that has already mesmerised audiences across the UK, The Kite Runner has transferred to the West End for a strictly limited 12-week season at Wyndham’s Theatre until Saturday 11 March. This week sees its press night and you will be able to see my thoughts shortly after.
Joining Ben Turner in the lead role of Amir are Emilio Doorgasingh (as Baba), Nicholas Khan (Rahim Khan), Lisa Zahra (Soraya), David Ahmad (Kamal), Ezra Khan (Ali), Nicholas Karimi (Assef), Antony Bunsee (General Taheri), Hanif Khan (Tabla Player), Bhavin Bhatt (Wali / Doctor), Andrei Costin (Hassan / Sohrab), Johndeep More (ensemble), Natasha Karp (ensemble).
Afghanistan is a divided country on the verge of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament. But neither Hassan or Amir can foresee the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever.
Khaled Hosseini said: “The Kite Runner is a story that appeals to very powerful, universal human emotions, it transcends its cultural setting, its geographic parameters, and speaks about universal human experiences – brotherhood, being a father, being a son, friendship, the desire to be a good person and be able to look at yourself in a mirror with a sense of self-respect.”
The Kite Runner, published in 2003, was Khaled Hosseini’s first novel. It became an instant bestseller across the globe and has since been published in 70 countries, selling 31.5 million copies in 60 languages.
The book tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan, his father’s young Hazara servant. The tale is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the Soviet invasion, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime. It charts a friendship that spans cultures and continents and follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption.
In 2013, Nottingham Playhouse and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse pulled off an extraordinary theatrical coup and secured the rights to stage the European premiere of The Kite Runner. The subsequent production toured the UK and was hailed as a theatrical tour de force by both the public and critics.
With a script completed before the release of the feature film adaptation, the play was first produced in San Francisco in 2009 by The San Jose Repertory, and won five San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards.
The Kite Runner is adapted by Matthew Spangler and directed by Giles Croft. It is produced in the West End by Martin Dodd for UK Productions and Derek Nicol & Paul Walden for Flying Entertainment, and was originally produced by Nottingham Playhouse and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.
Matthew Spangler (Stage Adaptation)
Matthew Spangler is a playwright, director, and professor based in the San Francisco Bay Area other plays include one- person shows of James Joyce’s Dubliners and Finnegan’s Wake; A Paradise It Seems, an adaptation of John Cheever’s short stories; Mozart!, a musical theatre adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s letters; as well as stage adaptations of John Steinbeck’s fiction; Ernest Hemingway’s short stories; Thomas Wolfe’s The Lost Boy; Clyde Edgerton’s Where Trouble Sleeps; and T.C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain (recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award).
Ben Turner (Amir) led the company for the UK tour of The Kite Runner. His other stage roles include Michael Grandage’s productions of Richard II and Caligula (Donmar Warehouse), Maiden Voices from the Uprising (Royal Court), Awake and Sing (Almeida). He was King Louis in the Dr Who episode The Girl in the Fireplace, and was in the films 300: Rise of an Empire and Adulthood.
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat in the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and history at a high school in Kabul. In 1976, the Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then their homeland had witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet Army. The Hosseinis sought and were granted political asylum in the United States, and in September 1980 moved to San Jose, California.
Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned a medical degree in 1993. He completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles and was a practicing internist between 1996 and 2004.
In March 2001, while practicing medicine, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner. Published by Bloomsbury in 2003, that debut went on to become an international bestseller and beloved classic, sold in at least 70 countries and spending more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
In May 2007, his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, remaining in that spot for 15 weeks and nearly an entire year on the bestseller list. Together, the two books have sold more than 10 million copies in the United States and more than 38 million copies worldwide.
Martin Dodd for UK Productions
and Derek Nicol & Paul Walden for Flying Entertainment present
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Charing Cross Road
Wednesday 21 December –
Saturday March 11