Cast members of West End show The Kite Runner have made an onstage plea for “solidarity” and “compassion” after US President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
They told the audience that it was “incumbent” upon them as a cast from a range of ethnic backgrounds to “speak out against such actions” and divisive politics.
Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini, the moving production tells of the friendship between two boys in Kabul, Afghanistan, and the life-changing quest for redemption when one betrays the other, eventually moving to a life of safety and freedom in America.
A few words from the cast to express our thoughts on Donald Trump's travel ban. https://t.co/aHSocOpe1I— The Kite Runner (@TheKiteRunnerUK) February 1, 2017
Reading a statement on behalf of the team, actor Emilio Doorgasingh said: “The Kite Runner is about many things, one of which is the story of refugees in America.
“This is also a play about love, hope and redemption.
“Khaled Hosseini, himself a Muslim-American, came to the United States as a political refugee … He points out that this executive order will target mostly ‘women and children escaping years of atrocity and unspeakable suffering’.
“He goes on to say that this is ‘a time for compassion and solidarity, not divisive policy that undermines (our) core values’.
“We as a company embrace these sentiments, and we hope you’ll do the same through your compassion, generosity and actions, however small, that might help alleviate the plight of the world’s refugees and displaced peoples.”
No greater time to see @TheKiteRunnerUK than now! Honest humanity within an audience & truth recreated by actors. NO#MuslimBan— Isuri W (@_isuriw_) January 31, 2017
His words were met with a standing ovation from the audience at Wyndham’s Theatre on Tuesday night.
This is not the first time that the stage has been used as a platform to respond to the new Trump administration.
Following the president’s election in November last year, the cast of Broadway’s Hamilton addressed his deputy and audience member Mike Pence directly from the stage.
Encouraging others in the crowd to share the moment via social media, actor Brandon Dixon read from a letter: “We, sir, are of the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.
“But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us.”
The then president-elect hit back at the cast, accusing them of “harassing” his colleague and demanding an apology.