The Kite Runner on Broadway is adapted from the novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini. This is a powerful story of friendship and family told in the 1970s in Afghanistan, a divided country.
I’m going to try and be as honest and open in my reviews as I can. Please note these are my personal opinions and I’m always open to discussions!
Show Name: The Kite Runner
Show Type: Play
Location: The Hayes Theatre, NYC
Date Seen: Sunday, July 24, 2022
I have not yet read The Kite Runner novel so I can’t compare directly to the source material, but I thought the stage adaptation was a powerful story. Amir is the son of a wealthy man, and Hassan is the son of his fathers servant. The two boys are only a year apart in age so they grow up together. While Amir is given all the privileges afforded to him, Hassan is left in his shadow but doesn’t mind, and is happy to simply be friends with Amir. The two are great at kite running, a task which takes two people, one to fly the kite and the other to unspool the string or run to catch the kite when it falls.
The beginning of this story takes place in Afghanistan and I found the culture to be very interesting. Afghan culture isn’t one I know anything at all about and this show does a great job of showcasing some of it and done accurately. (I attended a panel on The Kite Runner at BroadwayCon and they spoke of how there was a cultural advisor for the play to ensure the culture was accurate.)
Early parts of this play are also spoken in Farsi (I believe) rather than English, but with the context of the actions of the characters, you don’t need a translation – some actions are universally understood especially when it comes to childhood and playing around. I appreciated this authenticity to the story – most of it is told in English, but there is Farsi spread throughout in casual greetings and such.
Another important aspect of this show was the music. There was a single musician on stage for the entire show playing drums and other traditional Afghan instruments. Others would occasionally join on stage whipping around instruments that created the sound of wind.
There are very intense moments in this play including gun shots, themes of war and imprisonment, and physical abuse. It has happy moments but it also has very dark moments that you’ll want to look away from but are things that happen in real life.
The second act of the play takes place when Amir and his father emigrate to the United States to escape the unrest in the middle east, and Amir’s experience going to college and living as an adult in San Francisco. The story progresses through September 11, 2001 and the changed perspectives of Amir and his family to Americans.
Overall this is a story of the bonds of friendship between Amir and Hassan and of family, between Amir and his father, and Hassan and his father. It’s a wonderful story and I’m glad I was able to see it on stage. This show has a limited run on Broadway through October 30th, and I recommend going to check it out for yourself!
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