The Cast on the Radiant Return of A Thousand Splendid Suns

By Taylor Steinbeck

Since A Thousand Splendid Suns’s dazzling world premiere at The Geary Theater as part of A.C.T.’s 2016–17 season, director Carey Perloff’s production has continued to shine across the globe. This epic and heart wrenching story has emotionally affected audiences of all kinds from Canada's Grand Theatre London and Theatre Calgary to San Diego's The Old Globe. Before Suns makes a return to its theatrical home this week, we spoke to three members of the original cast about taking the show on tour and reprising their roles at the place where it all began.

The Old Globe and A.C.T.'s 2018 production of A Thousand Splendid Suns. Photo by Jim Cox.
Jason Kapoor (Abdul Sharif, Jalil, Wakil): The response we got in Canada and San Diego was very positive. In Calgary, there is a large refugee population and in San Diego the military presence was very apparent, but in both locations there was an understanding that the story cuts across culture, race, and region. The story may be set in Afghanistan but everyone can relate to it.

It feels surreal to be back. I had a slight out of body experience when I came to see A Walk on the Moon and saw ads for Suns in the program, the banner outside the theater, and the video playing in the lobby.

Denmo Ibrahim (Mariam): I feel fortunate to have been with Suns for so long. I was in the first workshop of the play several years ago and have stayed with it through its many incarnations. I’ve played several characters since the world premiere. There’s something magical about having spent a year playing the mother of the character I’m now portraying. It feels like I know Mariam's perspective more intimately for having played her mother, Nana.

Performing this piece for a Canadian audience felt very different than American audiences because of the contrasting political landscapes. The show opened at A.C.T. two months after the presidential election, weeks before the Women’s March, and in the wake of the announcement of the Muslim Ban. The content of the show was speaking directly to a community charged with a wide range of emotions.

(L to R) Nadine Malouf, Jason Kapoor, Denmo Ibrahim, Lanna Joffrey, and Joseph Kamal 
in A.C.T.’s A Thousand Splendid Suns (2018). Photo by Jim Cox.
Nikita Tewani (Aziza): I'm really excited to come back to the Geary. The show has evolved so much since last year. The Suns family has grown and everyone involved has left a beautiful imprint on the show. I feel like we are coming back home with a wealth of knowledge!

A.C.T.’s production of A Thousand Splendid Suns returns to the Geary stage for a special two-week encore presentation beginning July 17. Click here to purchase tickets. Want to learn more about the process of producing the world premiere of Suns? Order a copy of Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s in-depth performance guide series.

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