New Delhi: An Afghan
theatre company, Rah-e-Sabz, which escaped a Taliban attack in
Kabul last August because of a last-minute change in schedule,
will stage an Afghan version of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors"
at the Azad Bhavan here Tuesday.
A miltant attack on the compound where the group rehearsed for
their play had killed 12 people Aug 19 last year.
More than 10 years after the fall of Taliban, the theatre is yet
to return to the cultural mainstream in Afghanistan. A source said
the ensemble was in the Taliban line of fire for defying the ban
The Indian Council of Cultural Relations, which has brought the
play to India, said in a statement: "The Afghan actors in the play
are hoping to redefine Shakespeare - and public perception about
theatre in Afghanistan by performing the play."
After India, the repertory will stage the play at the Globe
Theatre in London May 30-31. It is supported by the British
The play with a cross-cultural international crew will be
performed in Dari language with English sub-titles.
Recalling the attack on their theatre space, Corinne Jaber, the
French director of the troupe, said: "I had asked the cast if they
wanted to rehearse in the early hours of August 19, 2011 because
it was Ramadan. But they said they didn't. The attack happened at
5.30 p.m. and the decision saved us."
The troupe's rehearsal space was damaged in the attack in the
Karte Parwan district of the Afghanistan capital, which reduced
much of the British headquarters in Afghanistan to a rubble.
A spokesperson for the British Council which promotes Britain's
cultural and educational relationship with other countries said:
"The troupe was unlikely to return to the compound where the
attack happened because of the extent of the damage and continuing
security concerns in the area".
It was currently operating from the British Embassy in Kabul, the
Rah-e Sabz's adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy is set in the
bustling backstreets of modern-day Kabul, places of laughter and
joy that few foreigners ever get to see or hear about.
"We came into the world like brother and brother. And now let's go
hand in hand, not one before another...," is the motto of the
The play narrates the tale of a set of identical twins, separated
as babies during a sandstorm in the Afghan adaptation of
Shakespeare's classic. The twins find themselves in Kabul for the
first time as adults. Soon, their friends mistake the twins for
one another and bewilderment abounds, as the wife of one man
declares the other to be her husband, pronouncing him mad when he
denies the claim.
A spokesperson for ICCR described the play as "exuberant, mystical
and brilliantly farcical. Shakespeare's shortest play is a
romantic comedy of confusion and reunion in Afghanistan's
turbulent realpolitik, where theatre is a rare treat".
"It is always very encouraging and exciting to see the
re-emergence of artistic forms in Afghanistan after a long period
of turmoil and instability. Promotion of arts and culture
invariably brings certain sense of normalcy and stability to any
society," Suresh K. Goel, the director-general of ICCR said.
He said "cultural Diplomacy works not only between different
nations but also within the society to add strength and stability
"When the proposal for production of 'The Comedy of Errors' in
Dari language by the Rah-e-Sabz was brought to ICCR, we accepted
it immediately because of our traditional links with Afghanistan,
the innovative approach to supporting the artistic traditions of
the damaged society again which would lead to building of a
peaceful society and because of the history of our own
culturalties with Afghanistan. We remember Kabuliwala of Tagore,"