Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2014
The climax to Afghan company Roy-e-Sabs’ The Comedy of Errors gained much of its power through its physical manifestation of reunion. When Parwin Mushtahel's Zan-e Motakef (Emilia) recognized Shah Mamnoon Maqsudi's Ehsan (Egeon) as her husband, their subsequent embrace drew a spontaneous and highly emotional round of applause from the audience at Shakespeare's Globe. It was the first in a series of reunions between estranged family members – brothers, lovers, parents and children – each of which moved the audience to further applause and cheering. Here, the final hand-hold between the two Dromios (here named Bostan) was just one more in a sequence of physical embraces which had involved hugs, clasps, kisses and the cupping of faces. Roy-e-Sabs’ Paris-based director, Corinne Jaber, has argued that such reunions carry a particular emotional charge for Afghan audiences, many of whom will themselves have travelled to search for lost relatives after long periods of enforced separation.
The Globe audience presumably included a significant number of Afghan expatriates, since many were clearly following the Dari Persian language. This was an audience willing to express its emotional responses loudly and emphatically: from ironic wolf-whistles at Shah Mamnoon Maqsudi's drag-act Kukeb (Nell), to laughs of delight at the production's inventiveness and gasps at its plot twists. Some of the more excitable reactions came in response to the production's willingness to break Afghan cultural norms: while touching between genders is highly taboo in Afghanistan, the women in The Comedy of Errors touched the male performers frequently, and often in overtly sexual ways. Sodaba/Adriana rubbed her leg against that of Arsalan of Samarqand/Antipholus of Syracuse; Rodaba/Luciana wrestled on the floor with Arsalan of Kabul/Antipholus of Ephesus; all three women embraced their husbands in the final scene.
To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.