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Homebody/Kabul: Final Revised Version Paperback – February 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Theatre Communications Group; Rev Sub edition (February 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559362391
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559362399
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Kushner's first big work on a great big canvas since Angels in America. This eerily timely work about Afghanistan is comparably mesmerising and mournful, vast and intimate, emotionally generous and stylistically fabulist, wildly verbal, politically progressive and scarily well informed' Newsday. 'What a feast of a play! No playwright in the English language has a more consuming curiosity or a greater passion for language than Kushner... Brilliant' Chicago Tribune. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tony Kushner's plays include A Bright Room Called Day and Slavs!; as well as adaptations of Corneille's The Illusion, Ansky's The Dybbuk, Brecht's The Good Person of Szecguan and Goethe's Stella. Current projects include: Henry Box Brown or The Mirror of Slavery; and two musical plays: St. Cecilia or The Power of Music and Caroline or Change. His collaboration with Maurice Sendak on an American version of the children's opera, Brundibar, appeared in book form Fall 2003. Kushner grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and he lives in New York.

More About the Author

Tony Kushner's plays include A Bright Room Called Day and Slavs!; as well as adaptations of Corneille's The Illusion, Ansky's The Dybbuk, Brecht's The Good Person of Szecguan and Goethe's Stella. Current projects include: Henry Box Brown or The Mirror of Slavery; and two musical plays: St. Cecilia or The Power of Music and Caroline or Change. His collaboration with Maurice Sendak on an American version of the children's opera, Brundibar, appeared in book form Fall 2003. Kushner grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and he lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Ott VINE VOICE on January 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate enough to see this performed in New York last year. This play unleashes great torrents of language and ideas at every turn and is the theatrical equivalent of a clusterbomb. Yet, with time to read and mull, it becomes something quite different.
Years of work and research are hung on the frame of a simple melodrama about a father and daughter searching in a strange country for a wife and mother. Kushner's mythical Afghanistan is a place where the tower of Babel toppled and people speak everything from Russian to Esperanto. The hapless British thrust into this burka'd world will never grasp that we in the west have "succumbed to luxury" -- though perhaps the audience will.
Some other reviewers found the Homebody's monologue dull on the page. I assure you it is quite stirring in performance. The same may be said of much of the play which, like Angels in America, is unwieldy but brilliant. Kushner has admitted in interviews that the play should be trimmed but I think, when reading the play, the overambitiousness is a plus. Kushner is a playwright with a social consciousness, but also a literary and poetic conscientiousness. The use of 'sunny' as an adjective recalls Sunni and the etymology of Quango's name is a play unto itself.
This play is 'about' too many things to effectively say what it is about. I appreciate it as a feast of language and a virtuoso display of Kushner's talent. While it may run long and fail to cohere thematically, it is shorter and more thematically coherent than Angels. What is a clusterbomb in the theater is chocolate cake when iced with covers.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Loviska on February 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have been a huge Tony Kushner fan ever since i read and subsequently performed in Angels in America my first and second years of college. I bought Homebody/Kabul as soon as it came out in paperback, and was fortunate enough to see it performed at the Intiman Theater in Seattle recently. After reading and seeing this play, my love for Kushner and his work has only deepened.
At this point, to call Kushner a master of language is to belabor the point. He capable of provoking any reaction under the sun, from hilarity to pathos to utter despair, with a simple, poetic phrase one moment, then a completely different reaction the next. I also won't waste time your time with my interpretation of the "message" of the play, though it certainly has many messages. The first act of Homebody/Kabul consist of one character (the Homebody) sitting in a chair recounting a selective history of Afghanistan mixed in with stories from her life, for an entire hour! Now, read on the page this can get tedious at times, though the stories are interesting. But Ellen McLaughlin, the masterful actor who performed the role in Seattle, sat on stage in one place for that whole hour and commanded the entire attention of the audience. It was mind-boggling, awe-inspiring, transporting, and reminded me forcibly of the difference between reading and performance. McLaughlin took the, admittedly brilliantly constructed, words on the page and turned them into something vital, poetic, and magical.
The rest of the play deals with the aftermath of the Homebody's decision to go to Kabul and disappear. Her husband Milton and her daughter Priscilla, hearing she has been killed, go to Kabul to recover her body. Soon evidence turns up that she may have taken the veil and married a Muslim man.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James Fisher on August 5, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although some readers may be disappointed the Tony Kushner's latest play is not at all similar to his first great play, ANGELS IN AMERICA, it is one of the best plays of the decade. Kushner begins with a character who is drawn to travel to Afghanistan where she disappears. Her husband and grown daughter arrive in Kabul under the Taliban to find their wife/mother. They never do find her, but instead are exposed to life in Afghanistan under the Taliban -- a country retaining aspects of its great history, but living in a present of oppression and fear. Through this, Kushner explores the West's culpability in the tragedy of Afghanistan, the ability of the human spirit to survive under the worst possible circumstances, and the need on both sides to truly experience and understand the other. The play is filled with Kushner's trademark style -- a Brechtian, cinematic structure -- and lyrical flights of language, rich characterizations, and fascinating, disturbing ideas about a part of the world few Americans understood or knew much about prior to the tragedies of September 11. Now, more than ever, this play raises some of the most important questions of our time.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. Alford on July 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Tony Kushner, who with "Angels in America" arguably gave us the two greatest works of American drama since "Death of a Salesman," continues his drive to create a grand theatrical voice with "Homebody/Kabul."
And though he falls far short in his attempt, it feels a little crass to fault him for it. This play should be appreciated for its ambition and for the unabashed joy Kushner shows for the intricacy and the density of the English language. His work is great to read even when it ultimately misses the mark.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bryce Wisan on December 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
Like Angels in America, Kushner juxtaposes two seemingly different people and their respective societies, only to show how similar they really are. What are more absurd, Kushner seems to ask, some of the obvious horrors of life in Afghanistan, or some of the subtle opiates that constitute life in the Western world? Neither society appears to be fulfilling in the long run, though a change of scenery seems to be the tonic. Kushner describes a world in which the insanity of one world appears to be the cure for the insanity caused by the other.
This play is certainl though-provoking, and not easily forgotten. I'd love to see it in the theater.
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