The Kite Runner, adapted by Matthew Spangler, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini
At the Citadel Theatre (Shoctor Stage) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
March 9 to 31, 2013
Tickets and information:
Thank you Citadel Theatre, for once again presenting a theatrical masterpiece, a contemporary masterpiece in a least expected setting.
The Kite Runner is epic, spanning an emotional/ethical arc of friendship, betrayal, weakness, saintliness, rigidity, hypocrisy, lost innocence, twisted brutality.
These qualities of the soul are fit within a panoramic psycho-geographic landscape that echoes the interior conflicts and passions - an idyllic Afghanistan, tumultuous Afghanistan, wretched Afghanistan and San Francisco, USA, through the eyes of a refugee Afghan community.
There is the masterpiece of the writing, shared between the author of the original novel, Khaled Hosseini, and the craftsmanship of stage-adapter Matthew Spangler. That so many themes could so beautifully and seamlessly intertwine, that a plot could follow so many twists and turns, that all could be so satisfactorily resolved by the final curtain is an extraordinary feat. Very little that's been written for contemporary theatre in the past 20 years compares to what is currently on the Citadel Theatre.
A masterpiece of on-stage delivery: Excellent, excellent acting from a large cast of ethno-Canadians, for the most part one would presume second-generation Canadians of Middle Eastern and Asian heritage. The secondary cast were called upon to play the widest possible range of characters, from village Afghans to American disco divas, and they were without fault. The ever-fluid sets were striking in their minimalism, so accurate in depiction of physical and emotional spaces. Ditto for the lighting.
Bravo to director Eric Rose, self-described as a "small-town guy from Northern Ontario" who starts his director's notes with "How will I stell a story that takes place in a country of which my primary source of understanding comes from war-torn images on the news?"
Finally, a component of sheer genius and the crowning jewel to this rich, rich theatrical tapestry was the live musical accompaniment, from the corner of the stage, of tabla player Salar Nader. In this play are two commentators, the lead character Amir and, in a language of the heart, the singing/talking tablas of Nader.
The tabla, known to North America through the music of India, is literally a drum with vocal chords, its expressiveness dependent on the fingers of its player. In tabla circles, Nader is a global giant. Edmonton is fantastically lucky to have him here as accompanist for The Kite Runner's three-week run.
I won't go on about The Kite Runner - other than to say it's a shoo-in to be included in the Top 10 Citadel shows of the past decade. That's rather fantastic company.
Thank you Citadel Artistic Director Bob Baker, for bringing us such extraordinary, powerful theatre.
May the word-of-mouth on this show reach out and embrace (and bring to the show) every theatre-loving Edmontonian possible.