Disgraced – Strangers in the Night

disgraced 2Take a loving, happily married couple. Add a nephew who unwittingly stirs the pot. Throw in a well-intentioned art gallery owner and his wife and stand back and watch the fireworks.

Disgraced, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, continues to be a timely play about issues that have been confounding people for centuries. Can men understand women? Can white people understand black people? Can Christians understand Jews or Muslims? And, perhaps most tellingly, what lies beneath all our surfaces when push comes to shove? The playwright, Ayad Akhtar, doesn’t shy away from his characters becoming ugly or from making the audience gasp. There were a couple of scenes that felt a bit heavy-handed, but overall the play made me leave asking questions about myself and about the world we inhabit.

The five actors in this production were very good. Hari Dhillon, who portrays Amir, the successful Pakistani-American attorney who thinks he has escaped his past, and Danny Ashok, who portrays the nephew who inadvertently draws Amir into a political conflict, really stood out to me. The set and the characters’ costumes speak to the upper-class world they inhabit – even as that world starts to crumble from the bigotry that is exposed. As I left the theater into Times Square, with all the new terror alerts fresh in my mind, I thought that Akhtar should continue writing plays that make us confront our prejudices and hopefully open new dialogues. AFW

Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45 Street

Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Ticket prices: $37.50 – $138

Discounts available at http://www.broadwaybox.com, CODE: DIBOX0811 and at TKTS

Thru: January 2015


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