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Distributed for Haus Publishing

A Night in the Emperor’s Garden

A True Story of Hope and Resilience in Afghanistan

In 2005, everything seemed possible in Afghanistan. The Taliban was gone. A new government had been elected. A cultural renaissance was energizing the country.

An actress visiting from Paris casually proposed to some Afghan actors in Kabul: Why not put on a play? The challenges were huge. It had been thirty years since men and women had appeared on stage together in Afghanistan. Was the country ready for it? Few Afghan actors had ever done theater. Did they even know how? They had performed only in films and television dramas.

Still, a company of actors gathered—among them a housewife, a policewoman, and a street kid turned film star. With no certainty of its outcome, they set out on a journey that would have life-changing consequences for all of them, and along the way lead to A Night in the Emperor’s Garden.

320 pages | 10 color plates | 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 | © 2015

Biography and Letters

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“Absolutely charming—touching, hilarious—and very different to all the depressing war tomes on Afghanistan.”

Christina Lamb

“The story is alternately funny, poignant, and inspiring, providing a glimpse into another Afghanistan.”

Jean MacKenzie

A Night in the Emperor’s Garden is an illuminating and deeply moving book—a startling exploration of Shakespearean mobility, a tribute to the subversive power of the theater, and a poignant account of the tragic dilemmas of contemporary Afghanistan. It is an unforgettable story about courage, artistic ambition, and moral determination in the face of murderous violence.”

Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern and Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

Table of Contents

Author’s Note
Naw Ruz. The New Day
Kabul March 2005.

A Night in the Emperor’s Garden
A Gathering of Players
Kabul. March 2005.
A World of Possibilities
Kabul. March 2005.
Selecting a Play
Paris. April 2005.
Making the Script
Kabul. May and June 2005.
Casting the Boys
Kabul. May 2005.
Settling In
Kabul. April 2005.
Casting the Girls
Kabul. Marches 2005.
Searching for Marina
Kabul. June 2005.
Rehearsals, Act One
Kabul. June 2005
Rehearsal, Act Two
Kabul. July 2005.
Tea with Shakespeare
Kabul. June and July 2005.
The Meaning of Love
Kabul. June 2005
Behind the Scenes
Kabul. June 2005.
Rehearsals, Act Three
Kabul. August 2005.
“This Theater of Heaven”
Kabul. August 2005.
Exits and Entrances
Kabul. August 2005.
Expulsion of the Russians
Kabul. August 2005.
Kabul. 31 August 2005.
The Queen’s Palace
Kabul. 4 September 2005.
A Night in the Emperor’s Garden
Kabul. 5 September 2005.

“The Scene Begins to Cloud”
Kabul. September 2005-April 2006.
Mazar-e-Sharif. May 2006.
Herat. May 2006.

Ten Years After
Ten Years After

Glossary of Afghan Words
The Authors

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