ATC's 'Kite Runner' is heartfelt, powerful - Tucson Local Media: El Sol

ATC's 'Kite Runner' is heartfelt, powerful

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Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 11:00 pm

This week's review is a little bit different. I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a Teen Critic for the Arizona Theatre Company, so once a month I'll review the latest show ATC is presenting. This month's show is "The Kite Runner," one of the best stage performances I have ever seen.

The onstage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's acclaimed novel is the haunting tale of a friend's betrayal and his life-long quest to make his wrong become right. Running two hours, 35 minutes in length, this heartfelt story is filled with sadness, friendship, some humor and historical significance and redemption.

Young Afghan boys Amir and Hassan are practically best friends. They grew up in the same property (although Amir in the mansion and Hassan in the servant's shack) and with each other. There is just one problem. Hassan is a Hazara boy and Amir a Poshtun. Hassan is also Amir's servant.

Local bully Assef is extremely prejudiced against the Hazara people and believes that they are an inferior race. After getting into trouble with Assef several times, there are extremely hard feelings among the three boys. Things go too far when Assef rapes Hassan, and Amir witnesses this but does nothing. The show is the story of how Amir deals with knowing he could have done something but didn't for his whole life in Kabul and eventually California.

"The Kite Runner" was my first time seeing a show sponsored by the Arizona Theatre Company and was my first real experience with a serious theatrical production. Sure, I've seen several Cirque du Soliel shows and several Broadway musicals. This story is an emotional one, and the feeling put into the show by the actors made the feelings of friendship, loyalty, disloyalty, longing, and unknowing seem all the more real. No words can describe how the show makes you feel, except exhausted, because after nearly three hours of changing emotions you don't know what to feel.

Lowell Abellon portrays Hassan, Craig Piaget plays young Amir, Barzin Akhavan adult Amir and Thomas Fiscella plays Baba, Amir's father. Each and every member of the cast gives a stellar performance, especially Akhavan. The emotion that went into each and every one of his lines was flabbergasting. He must be exhausted after two shows a day.

The rest of the crew were amazing as well. Although I have never read the novel (and I now plan to), playwright Matthew Spangler's script was superb, with every line delivering a greater emotional blow than the next. Costume designer Kish Finnigan did an exquisite job as well, with over 400 pieces of authentic Afghan costumes and 50 pairs of shoes.

"The Kite Runner" runs at the Temple of Music and Art through Saturday, Oct. 3. Tickets range from $25 to $50. For reservations call 622-2823. Trust me, this show is well worth fifty bucks and 2-1/2 hours of your time.

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