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Homebody/Kabul

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  548 ratings  ·  27 reviews
“Mr. Kushner’s glorious specialty is in giving theatrical life to internal points of view, in which our thoughts meld with a character’s wayward speculations or fantasies... He makes the personal and the universal, the trivial and the cosmic come simultaneously to life in a single character’s bewilderment.” –Ben Brantley, New York Times

“An extraordinary play…a deeply felt,
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Paperback, 172 pages
Published February 3rd 2005 by Theatre Communications Group (first published January 1st 2003)
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Brenda
Jun 25, 2008 Brenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in theatre or current events or "connecting"
A woman more in love with her inner, intellectual life (and books) than reality or her own family steals away to Afghanistan. Her husband and daughter, virtual strangers to her emotionally, go in search of her in a land of miscommunication, brutality and death.

There is so much in this play it's hard to know where to start. One of the characters is a poet who unfortunately learned Esperanto so that his words could be understood by everyone. Of course, they are understood by virtually no-one - suc
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Morgan
I almost didn't get past the first scene. I almost said "This is ridiculous" and put it way. And then I got past it. And oh my God. I can't even begin to describe it. Poignant, might be a good term. Utterly, absurdly human. But there was something about it, not exactly surrealistic, but nighmarish. That, yes, this is Kabul, this is Afghanistan, but this is the Afghanistan of dreams, where horribly amazing things happen. Half known and unknown. And the language, the use of language, absolutely be ...more
Kevin
Act 1, Scene 1 is an undeniable masterpiece. I am, however, of the (apparently contrarian) opinion that the rest of the play lives up to its opening. According to his own afterword, Kushner made a concerted effort to abridge an apparently much longer draft of the play. He kept the thematic resonances that are this play's chief pleasure, but perhaps at the cost of character depth. In particular Homebody's husband, Milton, is given short shrift, but I'm told Maggie Gyllenhaal, in the role of Prisc ...more
Molly
I think that I enjoyed this play. It was one of those plays that, when you have finished reading it you feel more solid/complete. I know that sounds odd or corny and some people probably don't agree with me, but for me it happens. And this play was one of the plays that did this to me. The opening monologue was a little hard to get through. I don't know if you have ever read Satanic Verses but it kind of reminded me of that: It was poetic and discussed a culture I didn't understand, but after a ...more
Jil
Oct 11, 2008 Jil rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in Afghanistan, theater freaks
Shelves: play, school
I've learned more about Afghanistan in the last two years than I was expecting to: The Kite Runner for senior year summer reading, The Places in Between for college freshmen summer reading, and this for my 21st Century American Drama class. I still feel embarrassingly ignorant about it, a point emphasized in this play: not only are many of our assumptions about this country incorrect, but there is so, so much that we don't understand and choose not to.

I thought the messages in this play were int
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Jacqueline
having read a number of reviews....i seem to have had an opposite reaction to most. I found the monologue which comprises the first scene captivating - i found the rest somewhat of a let down..... somewhat of a contrivance. I wanted more of homebody's inner dialogue and less of everyone else's diatribe.
Dave
If nothing else, this play is brave. Written just before 9/11 and performed shortly thereafter, Kushner's play looks at sides of Afghanistan that can't be easily simplified into bad guys and good guys and that would not have been very popular in that dark period of generalized recrimination, fear, and hatred. For me, Afghanistan becomes more and more the symbol of crossing and interchange--and the violence that often accompanies these interactions when imprudently pursued. In many ways, I identi ...more
Claire S
I'm watching 'Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner,' and he talks about right after 9/11, he realized - oh goodness, what do I do with my current play? Do I keep everything as it is? Is it ok still to mention Osama Bin Laden? Because he had written this whole thing about the situation in Afghanistan and the problems about to erupt there and Americans level of engagement etc.. *prior* to 9/11. So, some do actually pay attention. The artists..

I adore Kushner, of course I don't -like- all
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Josh Hornbeck
Tony Kushner's "Homebody/Kabul" is a gorgeous play about our complicated relationship with the Middle-East, our warped interest in the "strangeness" of foreign cultures, and the overwhelming burdens of grief and knowledge.
Andrea Goldston
Without a doubt, one of the most utterly racist things I have read. There are, however, a few brief moments of beauty.
john nielsen boyack
Dec 25, 2014 john nielsen boyack rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Citizens!
Recommended to john nielsen by: Tanner Humanities Center
Repentance preceded the world.
Molly
I felt that this play was a bit self indulgent and even a little masturbatory. It seemed like Kushner was just showing off his extensive knowledge of intricate language. None of the characters were particularly likable so I wasn't really compelled to find out what happened to them. Perhaps I am just not sophisticated enough to appreciate what Kushner was trying to say; I found this play pretentious, depressing and tedious.
srutherford81
One of my favorite books/plays. Tony Kushner has a way of turning normal acts like traveling or reading a travel guide into thought provoking material.

This book envokes discussions about the narcism of travel. The 'us v them' dichotomy or eastern and western cultures, and the complexities of the Afghan culture. Curiously, this was written just before 9/11.
Jeanne
This piece is notable for it's ability to expose the inherent biases of the Western person when contact is made with 'the exotic east'. It gives a compelling picture of the political makeup of Afganistan, and also some background on the Taliban regime. An informative fictional piece, though not perhaps one of my very favorite. Certainly good for discussion.
Dimps
Intense. You really have to stay in your toes in order to understand what's going on. I read this book in college. I would not have picked it off the shelf as something to read, but I am glad my professor picked it out for me. I have never read anything like this book. Some scenes are hilarious, while others make your stomach turn.
Vera
As far as I'm concerned, the first act -- the eponymous character's monologue -- is the whole play. Its text makes one step aside and bow down, as a reader, a writer, an observer of human history. Actors should find their humility in that text.
jo
this play is astonishing. the opening monologue is worth alone the play's weight in gold. the development of the story is mind-blowing, moving, and pleasantly mystifying: a brilliant commentary of the State Of The World. i can't wait to teach it.
Jeff Phillips
Would love to see this performed, can see it be a challenging one for actors to handle the language effectively, which would be quite engaging if done well. In terms of reading it as literature definitely flows like a great piece of art.
Tatyana Kagamas
In the afterword of this I discovered that Homebody/Kabul was in preproduction just months before 9/11. There are frighteningly prescient observations that when read in a "post-9/11 world" elicit an eerie sense of anxiety.
Brett
what i was most intrigued by in this play was it's treatment of language and connection and its linking together of the personal and [not only public, but] international. i would love to see it performed live.
Lori
Not one of my favorites, though I have met Tony and LOVE his other plays. I just find the monologues in this one to be cumbersome. It's just a matter of taste, though-- this is one of my husband's favorites.
Rebecca Bourgeois
I directed a reading of this play. It challenges the reader to try a new perspective on living under the burqa. Again, the power of theatre to alter minds and hearts constantly amazes me.
Maja
Jan 29, 2009 Maja added it
The play takes place in London & Kabul, just before & after the American bombardment of the suspected terrorist training camps in Khost, Afghanistan-August 1998.
Michael
Intense - I love Tony Kushner. I'm in the last act of this strange and bizarre journey through the minds of a broken family and the landscape of a twisted world.
Lynne (EVHS)
I read this for my book group and it's play set in Afghanistan -- I wanted to enjoy it, but I didn't like it.
Matt
Not one of Kushner's more popular plays, but I really enjoyed it a lot.
Susy
Dec 29, 2007 Susy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
amazing.
Quina
Quina marked it as to-read
Apr 22, 2015
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Tony Kushner is an award-winning American playwright most famous for his play Angels in America, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He is also co-author, along with Eric Roth, of the screenplay of the 2005 film Munich, which was directed by Steven Spielberg and earned Kushner (along with Roth) an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
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“…if a thing can be said to be, to exist, then such is the nature of these expansive times that this thing which is must suffer to be touched. Ours is a time of connection; the private, and we must accept this, and it’s a hard thing to accept, the private is gone. All must be touched. All touch corrupts. All must be corrupted. And if you’re thinking how awful these sentiments are, you are perfectly correct, these are awful times, but you must remember as well that this has always been the chiefest characteristic of the Present, to everyone living through it; always, throughout history, and so far as I can see for all the days and years to come until the sun and the stars fall down and the clocks have all ground themselves to expiry and the future has long long shaded away into Time Immemorial: the Present is always an awful place to be.” 8 likes
“We all romp about, grieving, wondering, but with rare exception we mostly remain suspended in the Rhetorical Colloidal Forever that agglutinates between Might and Do.” 4 likes
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