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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 14, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 24
Her own private Afghanistan - New City's Homebody is an intimate, revealing monologue
Arts & Entertainment
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Her own private Afghanistan - New City's Homebody is an intimate, revealing monologue

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

HOMEBODY
NEW CITY THEATER
Extended through July 6


A lonely British 'homebody' loves words and travel and travel books and lives vicariously through her collection of out-of-date travel guides in New City Theater's production of Tony Kushner's play Homebody. Mary Ewald, an accomplished solo performer, creates a study in riveting solo presence with this rambling monologue focused on a love of Afghanistan.

Homebody (she is never named) sits sipping tea and reading to us from one of her flea-market finds, a tossed-away book about traveling in Afghanistan, and telling us of her love of travel (though she never leaves the city), her antidepressant-filled life with a spouse who detests the sound of her voice, and how she throws parties that no one really seems to like. She tells us of her most recent party, where she decided that everyone must wear a hat.

The travel book includes a history of Afghanistan and its rulers back centuries B.C. and through the Soviet involvement that preceded the attempt by the U.S. to rid the country of the Taliban. The beauty of the region is mentioned over and over.

She describes a journey to a shop where she finds Afghani hats and buys them from a man who she assumes is Afghani, though she confesses she didn't ask. Still, her fantasies take her on a journey to Afghanistan and to a sexual encounter with the shopkeeper. It's a startlingly personal revelation from a woman who seems much too conservative to be able to express such a vivid reverie.

Kushner wrote this piece several years before the war in Afghanistan. He then continued it in another work, titled Kabul, and the two plays are often combined. This production is a simple one-hour monologue, enhanced with a beautifully understated broken brick wall, designed by Nina Moser and Lindsay Smith, that allows gleams of light through the other side, suggesting the devastation of Afghanistan.

New City already is about the smallest theatrical space in town, with about 30 seats for their normal arrangement. Director John Kazanjian decided to shrink the space even further for this intimate play, leaving a maximum of 18 chairs, so it's an easy 'sell-out' and while they have extended to July 6, you'll want to make sure to get on the list for those seats so you don't miss this pure theatrical experience. For more information, go to www.newcitytheater.org or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/384747, or call 1-800-838-3006.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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