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 Two: Communism, The Mujahideen & The Taliban 1979-1996 comprises four plays, including the premiere of a new play by Lee Blessing: 

Black Tulips by David Edgar

1979, an army of a super-power invaded Afghanistan. Soviet troops were sent to combat backwardness and banditry, to defend women’s rights, to build hospitals and schools. They thought they would all be home in a few months. 

Edgar is one of the UK’s foremost political playwrights whose most recent play, Testing The Echo, played at the Tricycle theatre in 2008. 

Wood For The Fire by Lee Blessing

In order to destablise the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the CIA and ISI (Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency) formed an unholy alliance with the Mujahideen. American weaponry was supplied to support the Jihad and the Russians were eventually forced to withdraw. Wood For The Fire explores one of many facets of this secret war. 

Blessing’s plays include the Pulitzer and Olivier-nominated A Walk In The Woods. 

Miniskirts Of Kabul by David Greig

The Taliban are closing in on Kabul: shells and rockets are exploding around the capital. A woman is interviewing President Najibullah, who has sought refuge in the UN compound. He talks about fashion, communism, torture and whisky, but time is running out. 

Greig’s numerous plays include The American Pilot, Ramallah and Damascus, which played at the Tricycle in 2009, plus several plays for the Donmar Warehouse including a version of Strindberg’s Creditors, which played there in 2008. 

The Lion Of Kabul by Colin Teevan

Two Afghan aid workers disappear while distributing rice. Rabia, their UN Director of Operations, is determined to discover what has happened to them. The problem is her organisation does not recognise the Taliban, and the Taliban does not recognise her. She seeks justice but who is to dispense it?

Teevan wrote the Young Vic’s Christmas show Amazonia and his adaptation of Kafka’s Monkey plays there in March 2009. His other work includes How Many Miles to Basra?, The Diver And The Bee and The Walls. 

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