Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul

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KUSHNER AND KABUL: Tony Kushner's play Homebody/ Kabul is the most awaited play of the year. "Homebody/ Kabul, directed by Declan Donnellan, is Mr. Kushner's first major work since the lightning bolt that is Angels in America struck nearly a decade ago. As a whole, this tale of cultural quest still has its own journey to make before reaching the level of Angels (which went through many years of gestation before reaching Broadway). But it definitely has the potential to get there." The New York Times 12/20/01 (one-time registration required for access)

  • LONG ROAD: "The play might well be called Passage to Afghanistan, in tribute to another influence. As in E.M. Forster's India, a woman is lost here as well. But while it's occasionally incoherent and overlong, Homebody/Kabul is a passionate and fascinating play, bubbling with ideas." New York Post 12/20/01
  • RUGGED TRIP: A play that's "like an overheated mind boiling over with multilingual opinions about the world. Unlike Kushner's longer and more sweeping Angels in America, Homebody/Kabul isn't roaring agitprop, even though it implicitly argues for consistent Western engagement with Afghanistan. His elliptical plotting and over-articulation finally wear you out. Even with last-minute cuts, the play clocks in at 3 hours 45 minutes - and where the sharp, entertaining Angels made its time fly, Homebody meanders." Washington Post 12/20/01
  • DAUNTING PROMISE: "The eerily timely work about Afghanistan, which runs almost four hours, is comparably mesmerizing and mournful, vast and intimate, emotionally generous and stylistically fabulist, wildly verbal, politically progressive and scarily well informed." Newsday 12/20/01
  • CAN IT OUTLIVE ITS MOMENT? "At a time when the usual quotient of skepticism regarding America's foreign policy has been muffled by an unofficial edict from above - America, love it or shut up - Kushner both loves it and refuses to shut up. Politicians, academics and telegenic pundits have weighed in on the current mood in America. But little has been heard from artists and playwrights on the order of Kushner." Los Angeles Tribune 12/20/01
  • GOOD TIMING: "The world is so convulsed over that recently departed regime that Homebody is probably the first U.S. play in decades to be able to traffic in the intricate history of a foreign country without the need to provide an audience with footnotes. We've got CNN instead." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/20/01
  • LONG ROAD TO KABUL: "In many ways, it is a prickly and flawed work. As Kushner notes in an introduction to the text, 'It was very hard to write this play.' Originally five hours long, it was cut back to a little under four hours before its opening, and even then, in performance, it sometimes has the print of an unfinished work." Chicago Tribune 12/20/01
  • HIGH AMBITIONS: "It is impossible to watch this play as a purely philosophical work. Nor does Kushner, an explicitly left-wing playwright, mean us to. He has done his homework, studied the internecine eruptions of Afghanistan throughout history, well before most of us (he wrote this in 1998), and he has his characters expound on the details at length. However, because we, too, now know some of these things upon entering the theater, we can focus less on the depths of Kushner's learning, more on what he makes of it, and conclude that, at bottom, Homebody/Kabul is thin stuff, as politics and as drama." Boston Globe 12/20/01
  • KABUL CABAL: It's a "wildly ambitious, if only partially satisfying new play." Chicago Sun-Times 12/20/01
  • NAGGING QUESTIONS: "This work, which lasts just under four (with two intermissions), reveals the writer's enduring infatuation with his own cleverness and consequent reluctance to edit himself. There are mesmerizing moments, but they are mixed in with ostentatiously cute wordplay and long-winded, pedantic speeches including a climactic sermon, delivered by a Taliban minister, full of predictable pacifist propaganda." USAToday 12/20/01

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