How apt a time for Disgraced to be staged as we see the cracks between race and class continue to rip apart by rising nationalism. Written by a Muslim-American, this play’s struggles on identity and a sense of belonging can strike a chord or two within the audience.
Set in New York City, a liberal melting pot of cultures and classes, the audience is introduced to Amir Kapoor, a South Asian self-made lawyer who denounced his Islamic roots in order to get ahead with his corporate life. However, when went for the hearing of an extremist imam, the press twisted his involvement to make him sound like he had shown support towards radical Islam. Thus, Amir’s downfall is foreshadowed.
When his wife, Emily, invites a couple – one of whom is Amir’s black American colleague – for dinner, racial tensions flare up as discussions on who is more oppressed in a post 9/11 setting of mistrust and xenophobia run rampant.
With such characterisations in mind, the cast that were playing their characters brought up the emotions that drive the characters forward well. It may not be surprising, seeing as how these actors could draw from their experience as minorities.
Hopefully the play can achieve what it has set itself up for – opening up conversations about race and seeing if there’s a way to bridge the gap of difference.