BrumHour saw A Thousand Splendid Suns at the invitation of Birmingham Rep.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This play contains scenes of physical violence.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
at Birmingham Rep
By Ursula Rani Sarma, Based on the book by Khaled Hosseini, Directed by Roxana Silbert
The best selling novel by Khaled Hosseini is brought to life on stage at Birmingham Rep until 18th May.
Aged 15, Laila’s (Sujaya Dasgupta) parents are both killed by an explosion and Rasheed (Pal Aron) pulls Laila’s body from the rubble, rather than see her as a unmarried young woman in danger he makes her his second wife, his first wife Mariam (Amina Zia) is less than impressed with this situation. It’s not until Rasheed becomes physically abusive with Mariam and Laila defends her that Mariam starts to soften to Laila.
We jump backwards in time seeing Laila meet her real true love Tariq (Waleed Akhtar) and forwards in time to meet Laila’s children (Shala Nyx and Mollie Lambert) These time jumps also reveal more about Mariam’s backstory and character too.
A Thousand Splendid Suns works hard to bring a complex novel to life and takes us on a female led journey, the two lead characters are fleshed out and we see the men through their eyes, in this case, angry and manipulative Rasheed, and honest and open Tariq.
The single set has multi layers depicting a fairly baron landscape, the backdrop is a single torn cloth and the characters bring out rugs which cover the floor. There’s a stark contrast between life in the city of Kabul where Laila comes from and Mariam’s life in the countryside.
I found myself engrossed in this thoughtful and sometime challenging story which contained scenes of violence. Sujaya Dasgupta and Amina Zia stand out with their initially opposing characters who form a solid bond. The ravages of war, the clash of cultures and fear for the future are all themes which play out throughout.
Female led adaptations with female directors and female led casts are few and far between so it is great seeing this championed by Birmingham Rep.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is at Birmingham Rep until 18th May. Book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/a-thousand-splendid-suns.html
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre, Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour.