Mon 13 April 2009, The Independent

Ideas America won't entertain: Why a London theatre season on Afghanistan couldn't happen in the US

During rehearsals for my new play Blood and Gifts, for the Tricycle Theatre's The Great Game: Afghanistan I've been irritated by a question I didn't have the answer to. Back home in New York City, when a colleague asks me what I'm working on, I tell them I'm contributing to a 12-play cycle of works set against seminal events in Afghan history. I tell them the cycle will be performed by a cast of 20 and run in rep over three nights, augmented by a film festival and lecture series. And they look at me slack-jawed. Then every single one of them asks some variation of the question that's been vexing me: "Why can't we do something like that here?" They ask because they know as well as I that presenting work like this in New York is a pipedream. But why is this the case? With all of our theatrical talent and ambition, why is it, as one playwright put it to me, "My man, it'll be a cold day in hell before we get to mount something like that."
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It was published by The Independent, which adheres to the PCC Code