The Great Game: Afghanistan is a festival exploring Afghan culture and history through a series of specially commissioned plays, readings, exhibitions and discussions. The festival first ran at the Tricycle theatre last year and now returns, following a Laurence Olivier Award nomination.

Part One: Invasions & Independence 1842-1930 features four new plays which explore the history of the country in this turbulent period. The plays are: 

Bugles At The Gates Of Jalalabad by Stephen Jeffreys.

In January 1842 a contingent of British soldiers, 16,000 strong, retreated from Kabul. Only a few stragglers were left alive in the British Army’s worst defeat in history. The General’s wife, Lady Sale, documents the battles in the Hindu Kush, while four buglers sound the advance at the Gates of Jalalabad as a signal to any survivors.

Jeffreys’s plays include Like Dolls Or Angels, The Libertine, I Just Stopped By To See The Man and The Art Of War. 

Durand’s Line by Ron Hutchinson

Amir Abdul Rahman has kept the Indian Foreign Secretary, Sir Mortimer Durand, cooped up in Kabul for weeks. Sir Mortimer is desperate to negotiate the division of Waziristan to avenge the humilation of his father’s name. Rahman fights to protect his country’s borders from Imperialist map-making. 

Hutchinson is the author of Topless Mum, Moonlight And Magnolias (performed at the Tricycle in 2007/08), Says I Says He and Rat In The Skull. 

Campaign by Amit Gupta

Harry Hawk MP, Parliamentary Private Secretay to the Foreign Secretary, needs to find a new approach to policy in Afghanistan. Hawk summons the expert, Professor Kahn, to advise on the potential success of the ‘supplementary plan’ conceived by the civil service. While Hawk hopes that history can repeat itself, Kahn is not convinced that it will. 

Gupta is a writer and director for theatre and television, and won the Royal Court Young Writers’ Competition with his first play, Touch.

Now Is The Time by Joy Wilkinson

King Amanullah, his wife Soraya and his father-in-law Tarzi are fleeing the capital. Their car is marooned in the snow, while Pashtun tribes and Tajik forces march towards Kabul. Will the Soviet Union help? Will the British interfere?

Wilkinson’s plays include Fair, Felt Effects and The Aquatic Ape.

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