This is the tale of two fantastically different people discovering love in the most unlikely of places: war-torn Afghanistan.
Over a week after its official debut, Charles Randolph-Wright’s Love in Afghanistan was still drawing hundreds for each performance at SW’s Arena Stage. Prior to the show, while guest might be enjoying concessions from the Catwalk Café, the young playwright-in-residence would mill about the crowd, obviously excited for the 8pm curtain — and in anticipation of this Afghani/American love story.
“I read stories about families in Afghanistan that stunned, fascinated and inspired me, and immediately knew that inspiration would weave somehow into a play,” said Randolph-Wright. “The resulting Love in Afghanistan is a surprising love story in the midst of war. I’m elated to premiere it in the Kogod Cradle—a thrilling space with incredible energy where I’ve wanted to work since I first saw it.”
Here’s what happens: When Roya, the strong-willed, female Afghani interpreter, and Duke, the famed American hip-hop artist with an incontrovertible ego, meet at an American army base in Afghanistan, there is obvious chemistry. After their meet-cute, Duke’s persistent woes paired with Roya’s witty rebukes engage and entertain the audience while Randolph-Wright explores the social, cultural, and historical differences that have potential to drive a rift between them.
The venue, committed to developing new, American theater voices, will showcase the piece across this month and next. Of note; the play introduces Melis Aker and Khris Davis, Tufts alum and Philadelphia-based actor respectively, to the DC theater scene as Roya and Duke. They’re paired with actors Joseph Kamal and Dawn Ursula, two Arena strongholds, who capture the roles of Sayeed (Roya’s father) and Desiree (Duke’s mother).
Love in Afghanistan runs October 11-November 17, 2013 in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle
Lead image credit Teresa Wood