Irony In Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul

979 Words4 Pages
When Tony Kushner first presented his play Homebody/Kabul to the public in a partial reading at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House in February 2001, the playwright, albeit somewhat tongue-in-cheek, emphasized the title and predicted that academics were going to “be very excited by the slash mark” (“Reading”) separating the two words, ‘Homebody’ and ‘Kabul’. Irony (directed at himself and at academic practice) apart, this remark suggests that Kushner had deeper implications in mind when deciding on the play’s title. The title and the slash were indeed commented on by quite a few reviewers and academics, most of whom (e.g. Gussow, Bouchard 301) interpreted them as simply denoting the play’s plot structure, dividing the play…show more content…
The few props mentioned in the stage directions include a second chair, a table with a lamp and tablecloth, a coat, a pocketbook, and a shopping bag (Kushner, Homebody 6). These props evoke a room in the house of a middle-class family, a setting with which the audience is sure to be familiar from their own lives. The whole first scene is static: it never leaves the room, and the only person on stage for about one hour is the anonymous woman to whom the first term of the play’s title refers: the ‘Homebody,’ an adequate label—at least initially—for the character, referring as it does to someone who prefers staying home to going out in the…show more content…
The beginning of the play, thus, implies notions of identity as grounded in the human body and safeguarded by the home. Unlike the word ‘Homebody’, referring to an anonymous person, the title’s second term, ‘Kabul’, is a proper name, identifying a specific place in its geographical and socio-historical particularities, the very place where the Homebody, in the interstice between scene 1 and scene 2, has traveled and disappeared and where Priscilla, her daughter, is now looking for her body. Here the spectator is confronted with quite different homes and other bodies. As to the Afghan home, the verbal scenery emphasizes the city’s ruinous state. Historical landmarks have been severely damaged or disappeared as one Afghan character points out: “That was the dome of Ziarat-I-Jan Baz, now destroyed, and that is Ziarat Panjeshah, what’s left of it” (Kushner, Homebody 55). According to the stage directions, there’s “mountains of rubble [that indicate] terrible fighting” (Kushner, Homebody 111). The bodies of the Afghan people match the state of their living quarters. As a British character remarks, an important section of the Afghan population are dismembered: “nearly every other man you

More about Irony In Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul

Open Document