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Disgraced

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  358 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The story of Amir Kapoor (Aasif Mandvi), a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. When Amir and his wife Emily (Heidi Armbruster), a white artist influenced by Islamic imagery, host a dinner party, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more damagi ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published April 25th 2013 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published January 1st 2013)
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Darby
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 877)
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Sue
I read this play on the recommendation of a friend who has seen the play and then bought a copy and promptly loaned it to me to read. My immediate response on finishing was "Wow!" I can't imagine how powerful this would be to see on the stage.

Amir and Emily are living a very good American life---she is a white artist, he an Indian/Pakistani lawyer with a high-powered New York law firm. She is hoping for her own show, he for eventual partnership. He has resoundlingly denied any and all Islamic ro
...more
Allan
Aug 11, 2013 Allan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
I have been planning on putting together and teaching a class about religion and theatre in America ... I really want to teach this play. It's so interesting. I appreciate that Akhtar criticizes white liberal privilege, but he doesn't leave it toothless or caricatured like I found with Clybourne Park. Still trying to figure out what to do or make with the ending, but definitely powerful stuff.
Ksenija Popović
In spite of many negative reviews I found here, I think this play deserves five stars.

I have lived away from my homeland almost all my life, and struggled with mentality, tradition and religion since always. It's like I never fit anywhere, because I'm too balkanic for the West, and too western for the Balkans. And that's exactly the protagonist's problem. He wants to condemn the way of life that has pushed his parents to emigrate, and embrace the western way to the point of denying and criticizi
...more
Jeff
While I admire what Akhtar is up to here, I just don't see what Pulitzer Committee did. For one thing, this play suffers from what I like to call "God of Carnage" syndrome: let's get a bunch of upper-class, educated folk in a room and wait until they say terrible things to each other. In addition, I believe I have already read a play a character of Islamic background attempting to assimilate into the dominant culture but being driven to behave in the expected violently-stereotypical fashion by t ...more
Craig Werner
It's been quite a while since I've encountered--in this case read, though I would really love to see a good production--a play as powerful, and as troubling, as Disgraced. A British-born Muslim (specifically Sufi--the distinction's important), Akhtar confronts a set of irresolvable issues concerning Islam in the western world, all of which comes to a head in the psyche of one of the central characters, Amir. Aggressively non-sectarian in his approach to his position in a prestigious law firm, Am ...more
Tex Tourais
What a play, what a play. Act III is an absolute punch to the gut, even in the reading of it. I can't imagine seeing this play performed, but I'm sure the experience is unforgettable...

We're dealing with Post-9/11 issues of Muslim identity and the role of art (and representation) in forming/deconstructing/exploding that identity, and, goodness gracious, does Akhtar pack a heckuva lot into 90 minutes.
Christian Engler
Ayad Akhtar’s 90-minute one-act Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is one of those rare theatrical works that can leave a reader rather immobile when in the midst of processing the combustible nature of it. In the background of your mind, you think to yourself, Is he sincerely going to go down that road and say publicly what you and everybody else might be thinking but are too polite to mention in casual conversation? And then, he does. Then, a volatile awkwardness ensues, and you have to take a breat ...more
Mateen Manek
This play was not what I imagined it to be when I began reading it. I recently bought it to take a glimpse into Muslim culture-based plays and other arts. I found it interesting as this was a contemporary piece that had a Muslim protagonist.

The play itself was written very well, with the characters staying true to their nature from the very start. The play itself was paced well, and didn't have too many dull moments. The scenes had good flow between them, and the conflict came organically. The e
...more
Rob
An incredibly provocative meditation on cultural identity and the deep-seated, often hostile, biases we carry with us that seem to emerge in our most stressful life moments. You will be thinking about this play long after its last line reverberates off the page (or the ceiling, if seen live). Outstanding!
Darby
I really enjoyed this play, especially the beautifully written forward about reading plays instead of viewing them. Reading this for a theory class put an interesting perspective on my thoughts—such as can a work be literature if it's more effective/meant to be performed rather than read, what nuances am I missing or making up reading on my own, etc—and I really appreciated what Akhtar had to say about these ideas before starting to read his work (his idea of the extra white space accompanied wi ...more
mm
A modern discussion of what Islam is -- its beauty, its 21st century reality, and its shackles.

Emily: . . . The Renaissance is when we turned away from something bigger than ourselves. It put the individual at the centre of the universe and made a cult out of the personal ego . . . That never happened in the Islamic tradition. It's still more connected to a wider, less personal perspective.

Naive Western interpretation or true? The play implodes on this assumption, and more.
Susan
Disturbing. I can't imagine seeing this play performed but I can see why it won a Pulitzer. Dares to talk about the hurtful, painful realities of diversity.





Julie
One of the most thought provoking plays I've ever read. I can't wait to discuss it with my lit group. So short and so packed.
One Pushy Fox
Unbelievably powerful and profound. I am shattered and without words. So very heart rending.
Phyllis Gauker
This is a play. There are lots of pages of interview with the author. Interestingly enough, the play was presented differently in different countries. I found this to be most interesting. For instance, in the USA we are used to movies, so the drama aspect had to cater to this end. One character is a Muslim who has renounced his religion, yet reveals that he can't escape his roots. His wife is white, but discovers Islam through art. They have two friends one of whom works with each of our origina ...more
Jason
a punch to the gut to read-SO good!
Andrew
I really don't know what to say. Amir is one of the most interesting characters I think I may have ever read. Not just in a play, but in literature in general. I don't condone some of his actions, or things he says, but he is still a likable and sympathetic character. There is a twist, and it was unexpected, but furthers the story instead of getting in the way like some twists have a tendency to do. After I finished reading it, I wasn't sure how I felt, and made me question and think. I believe ...more
Nitya Rawal
I just listened to the audible play of this. I love your writing and the way you bring out the deeper side of the older cultures in a contemporary way. I like the play a lot. Emily's character is amazing and the discussions are rich until they turn sour. It makes me sad to hear of such racism though. Maybe I'm naive. My mom is Persian and it was never a problem for us. We were never ashamed of our ethnicity or tried to hide it nor treated badly in the US. I love so many things about the Persian ...more
Rachelle Urist
I'm surprised this won a Pulitzer. It has substance, sure, but there are a few too many contrivances and forced dialogue for this to have beat other contenders for that prize.

In his review in the New York Times, Charles Isherwood loved the acting, but had some reservations about the script. He wrote (towards the end of his review):

"There’s more than a little contrivance in the interlocking relationships among the play’s characters and in their schematically contrasted religious and cultural bac
...more
Tung
Dec 30, 2013 Tung rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wawan
Presented as a tragedy, Disgraced can be a painful play for readers who identify themselves as American Muslim from a diasporic community. The reader or audience undergoes a painful twist and turn in the life of the main character. I personally still have some reservations about this play, mostly due to its being a tragedy and doesn't appear to have much utopian impulse... but this might change as I re-read it...
Andrea Lakly
The same woman who directed the Chicago premier of this remarkable play, and then the Broadway production that won the Pulitzer Prize, is coming to Atlanta next year to direct a production of this at the Alliance. This play challenged everything I think about Muslim Americans and their place in our society. I highly recommend that you read this with someone so that you can talk it out -- you're gonna need to.
Louise
I'm not much into reading plays but I heard so much about it that I had to pick it up. I wish I could see the live production. Great characters. The dialogue is pretty good. By the end, no one is unaffected. Thought provoking for sure. It's never easy to run away from yourself. Maybe the only solution is to quit looking in the mirror. Who are we, really? I'd like a sequel. What happens to these people?
Erin
I have three words for this work: AH. MAZE. ING.

It's short, but poignant. It's potent. It is so honest that it's refreshing, but at the same time it's a bit hard to swallow. It pushes the envelope of what a real world play is, and it approaches a very sensitive subject in a tasteful, relevant way. It's something that everyone, especially Americans, should read and really ruminate over what it's trying to convey.

The characters are relatable and likable in unique ways. Their relationships feel so
...more
Andy Madajski
Plays are quick reads for me. Sometimes too quick. I definitely will be rereading this to go back and pull out the nuances of the script. The lead, Amir, is a complex character trapped in a complex situation. The play deals with religion, hypocrisy, and violence in a realistic manner. At times the dialogue seemed a bit stilted, but I find that's usually true in a first reading of a play.
Mubushar Raza
It was a very provacative play that showed the two extremes of muslim belief. on the one hand you had someone who was ashamed of their muslim heritage and blamed the worlds problems on ISlam. On the other hand you had abe who blamed all of islams problems on the west. I have come across many muslims like this and they share Amir and Abe's personalities and thinking...
Ann Alton
Wow. I wish I had seen this. The dialogue is great, funny and poignant, real. It really stirs emotion, and evokes questions about how we talk about race, religion, politics and gender, and about how it gets wrapped up in our own perspective and egos, and how things we were brought up to believe aren't easily rooted out. Really fabulous.
Shaun
Around this time each year, I treat myself to great poetry, drama, sci-fi and young adult literature that I wouldn't ordinarily read. This year's drama selection "Disgraced" is the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama and while good, it is not great. The characters for the most part are believable and carefully drawn from the author/playwright/actor's life and experience as a Muslim in post-9/11 America. But the problem comes from the main character's wife, Emily. I just could not connect with h ...more
Jesús Rodriguez
Must read for anyone and everyone; no matter what nationality, race, or ethnic you are. I am surprised how fast I read it and how much meat is in it. If there is any book or play that you are planning to read in the coming new year please make this one a part of your reading list.
Angelica Romans
A tender subject of discussion is presented in Disgraced. What starts as simply a dinner conversation escalates in a way of a self-fullfilling prophecy. For me, the play presents a new representation of Islam and how different of a culture it can be to grow up in.
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Ayad Akhtar is a novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. Born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he is the author of American Dervish, published in more than 20 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto's Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His stage play Disgraced played at New Y ...more
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