The highly acclaimed production The Kite Runner will be finishing off its UK and Ireland tour at Belfast’s Grand Opera House next week.
The play, based on the bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini, is a haunting tale of friendship which spans cultures and continents, following one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption.
Afghanistan is a divided country on the verge of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament. But neither Hassan nor Amir can foresee the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever.
Raj Ghatak has stepped into the shoes of central character and the show’s narrator, Amir. “We are about 90% faithful to the novel,” Raj assures fans of the book.
“Some things have been changed purely for dramatic purposes which would have been hard to stage. Matthew Spangler, who wrote the adaptation, met the author, and he said that looking back he would might have changed things so some of the changes have come from him.
“The book is epic. There are moments in it that never leave you. It is very much a human story. It’s about a father and son, it’s about love, it’s about redemption and it’s about friendship. While the story may start in Afghanistan and move to America, there are universal themes for everyone.”
The role of Amir is certainly challenging for Raj. “It is a challenge that as an actor I relish,” he said. “It is a huge role as I narrate the story as an adult and create the world around me, but then I will go back into the story as the eight-year-old version of myself. You can never relax into it, I have to be on my toes the whole time.”
The tour will come to an end in Belfast and the cast are keen to see how the local audience react to the show. “I was in Belfast about 10 years ago because I have friends that live in Newcastle,” revealed Raj.
“I am really looking forward to coming back. I have heard the city has changed so much. We finish the tour in Belfast so there will be a lot of mixed emotions, It will certainly be emotionally charged.”
The play opens on Monday (June 18) and runs until Saturday June 23. Tickets are on sale from the Box Office on 028 9024 1919 or online at www.goh.co.uk.