This post could be a "You know you're in Kabul when . . .", but the high school drama class at the international school deserves something a bit more. So, to start, you know you're in Kabul when the topic of the high school play is the effects of the opium trade on rural Afghan life.
Last Wednesday, Joey and I attended the International School of Kabul Spring Drama Night at the French Cultural Center. We all know that high schoolers can be teeny bit on the dramatic side. Having been a high schooler once myself and having 15 year old sister that is a high schooler now, I know this to be true. But the high schoolers of ISK have a unique situation. Many of the usual high school experiences are unavailable to them because, well, they live in Afghanistan. There is no prom, no dances, no place to hangout after school, no driver's ed, no cheerleading squad, and few other typical high school things (although I will say that my high school experience had few of these things either). And the students come from such vastly different backgrounds (70% Afghan and the other 30% made up of 20 different countries), there is a much different vibe coming from the student body. With 21 different cultural backgrounds, it makes sense. So, to some extent, I think the dramatics of these high schoolers is understandable.
The drama night consisted of two plays written by students and one 1 act. The theme of the night was "Sins of the Father."
In play #1, a son deals with his father's decision to turn the family wheat farm into a poppy farm thinking it will provide them with financial stability. In the end, the whole family is in prison, one son addicted to opium and going through withdrawals, the other son lamenting his father didn't listen to him, and the father screaming, "Enough! Enough! Enough!"
Play #2 featured a man interviewing for a job as a editor for a well known author. As they get to know each other, it is revealed that Jose's family was killed during the Cuban Revolution in a strike ordered by a certain general who retired and became a well known author. For years, Jose planned his revenge and was prepared to enact it at this interview. The author pleads with him that it won't solve anything if he kills him and takes him away from his family repeating, "My family is all I have. It's the most important thing." Jose leaves the office with his bomb laden suitcase sitting beneath his chair. In the end, he decides not to use his cell phone to activate the bomb and runs off stage.
The 1 Act was a little abstract, mostly because there was confusion over whether it was the end of Play #2 or something completely new. It was about a village's decision to fight back against the oppression of General Despair. They did this through, what else, song and dance. . . I guess it could be compared to Stomp.
The evening ended with about 10 minutes of bows from the 10 student class and lot's of flowers from parents and peers. The acting was alright, about what can be expected from a high school drama class (apparently the drama club is much more accomplished). Some of the younger kids came out with very wide eyes asking questions like, "What's opium?" and "Who is Castro?" The subject matters were pretty grim, but it is Afghanistan after all.