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Shakespeare in Kabul


Shakespeare in Kabul

RRP: Price: £12.99


Publication Date:




Theatre and Film, Memoir, New Titles


By Stephen Landrigan & Qais Akbar Omar

Click here to buy the book

In 2005, a group of actors in Kabul performed Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost  to the cheers of Afghan audiences and the raves of foreign journalists. For the first time in years, men and women had appeared onstage 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 Paris 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.

QAIS AKBAR OMAR lives and works in Kabul. 

STEPHEN LANDRIGAN returns to Kabul frequently from his home in Boston, Massachusetts.

Review Coverage

'[A] passionate, moving, sometimes funny, always candid, account of the trials and tribulations of creating the first-ever Shakespeare production in Afghanistan.' - Steven Barfield, The Lady

Click here to read the full review.

'Last week I read a book called Shakespeare in Kabul that probably upends everything you thought you knew about Afghanistan.'  - Trudy Rubin

Click here to read the full review.

'' cannot help reading this fascinating book as the elegiac record of a brief interval of inter-cultural achievement against a horrific background.' - Times Literary Supplement 

Click here to read the full review in the TLS

'It’s a fascinating story, beginning with the difficulties of translating the play, and the problems of finding actors since theatre is not part of Afghanistan’s culture...' - Blogging Shakespeare

Click here to read full review

'It’s a fascinating story, beginning with the difficulties of translating the play, and the problems of finding actors since theatre is not part of Afghanistan’s culture.' - The Shakespeare Blog,  full review

'A remarkable new book has just come out about trying to mount a production of Shakespeare in Afghanistan, using a mixed cast, which of course is in itself a radical step...' Hugh Thomson

Read the rest of the review here.

'Shakespeare in Kabul, an entertaining, light read about Afghanistan’s unorthodox and reportedly wonderful 2005-06 production.' Joan Oleck, The National

Read full review here

'...this refreshingly straightforward and at times moving story…” – The Spectator

 Read full review here

'Reading it, she [Jean Mackenzie] said, helped her see the last ten years through Afghan eyes' The World

Click here to read full article

A nice feature of the Shakespeare in Kabul launch with the Intermission Youth Theatre at St. Saviours in Knightsbridge.(Last paragraph)