Directed by Nicolas Kent and Indhu Rubasingham, The Great Game: Afghanistan tells the story of Western involvement in the region since the early 19th century. The cycle of plays received its world premiere at the Tricycle in April 2009, where it returned for a limited run the following year.
Commissioned from writers Stephen Jeffreys, Ron Hutchinson, Amit Gupta, Joy Wilkinson, David Edgar, Lee Blessing, David Greig, Colin Teevan, Ben Ockrent, Abi Morgan, Richard Bean and Simon Stephens, the cycle's plays are are accompanied by three monologues by Iranian writer and documentary maker Siba Shakib and verbatim pieces by the London Guardian’s Security Editor, Richard Norton Taylor. Taken from interviews with American and British Generals, Afghan politicians, US and British politicians and contributors to the Obama review on the Afpak policy, the pieces aim to reflect the present situation in Afghanistan.
As previously reported, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) organised a similar private viewing of the piece in July 2010 with Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards saying at the time: "I can tell you that the MoD as a whole, and certainly the armed forces desperately want to understand the country well, and this series of plays – if I had seen it before I had deployed to Afghanistan myself in 2005 for the first time - would have made me a much better Commander of the ISAF Forces."
The show is produced in Washington by Tricycle Theatre, The Bob Woodruff Foundation, Shakespeare Theatre Company and the British Council, the UK's international cultural relations and education organisation, which supported the company's American tour last Autumn.
The cycle of verbatim pieces will play two performances in the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall, for policy and decision makers, military and government officials, service members, veterans and their families.
Speaking about the project Nicolas Kent, director of the Tricycle said: "We are honoured to have been asked to perform for the Pentagon. It confirms the power of theatre to engage with contemporary policy issues and spark debate, to educate and to challenge, as well as to entertain."
Based in North London, the Tricycle has a strong reputation for its hard-hitting verbatim, 'tribunal' and political plays. In the last 18 months its productions of Bloody Sunday, Scenes from the Saville Enquiry and Called to Account: The Indictment of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair for the Crime of Aggression Against Iraq – A Hearing have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The theatre has also won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement for its political work.