Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner
by Roger Smith

If the two opening shows of the current season at The Cleveland Play House are omens of what is on the horizon for Cleveland theater audiences, we’re in for quite a treat – especially if the remodeling of the Allen Theater in Playhouse Square lives up to its renderings. “The Kite Runner” is the current production at the nation’s oldest regional theater.
“The Kite Runner”, based on the bestseller list novel by Khaled Hosseini and dubbed as one of the best films of 2007, has been adapted by Matthew Spangler to the stage in a format that gets across the story as it was intended to be seen by the mind’s eye. This production soars like the kites from which it takes its name.
Jos Viramontes, in the first act role of Amir – as his older and wiser self – narrates this story of history, political upheaval, family dynamics, servitude, and religion, allowing snippets of life in the area. Those same snippets are seen through the latticed divisions of time and place that compose part of the movable set. Viramontes continues as Amir throughout the play, slipping in and out of the role of narrator all evening, wresting those emotions that befit the horrible misdoing he committed. His performance was the tail on the kite.
Jose Peru Flores, acting the younger Amir persona, left nothing to the imagination in his portrayal of a young man who had every benefit of class when growing up in Afghanistan. Matt Pascua was spot on in his portrayal of Hassan, the servant boy who was totally devoted to his young master and as Sohrab, the orphan that the adult Amir risked all to save.
Cast as Rahim Kahn, Apollo Dukakis mastered his character’s patriarchal demeanor; he knew all but told nothing – until the opportunity for redemption arose. Nasser Faris, as Baba the father it the production, maintained an air that would have been expected from a member of the upper class.
In addition to a cast that sparkles in this effective stage version’s presentation of the color of life in Afghanistan, a set, costumes and lighting that transport the audience from Kabul to California add to the depth of believability one experiences when in the Bolton Theater. Contributing heavily to the aura of the evening is the talent of Saslar Nader, musical supervisor, who is an accomplished tabla player, composer and arranger. His musical presence on the stage serves to carry the audience to another world and time.
This not to be missed production runs through Sunday, November 7th at The Cleveland Play House. Tickets for “The Kite Runner” are available at The Cleveland Play House box office by calling 216-795-7000, ext. 4 or online at


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