La Jolla Playhouse has announced the cast and creative team for its upcoming production of Blood and Gifts, by J.T. Rogers, directed by Lucie Tiberghien, running in the Mandell Weiss Forum June 12 – July 8.
The cast includes: Amir Arison as "Colonel Afridi" Kelly AuCoin (A Dram of Drummhicit) as "James Warnock," Benjamin Burdick as "Speechwriter," Demosthenes Chrysan as "Abdullah Kahn," Donald Sage Mackay as "Walter Barnes," Daniel Pearce as "Simon Craig," Triney Sandoval as "Dmitri Gromov," Babak Tafti as "Saeed," Geoffrey Wade as "Senator Birch" and Touheed Yousef as "Mujahid." The cast also includes six UC San Diego M.F.A. students in various roles: Ngozi Anyanwu as Danvir Singh Grewal, Sarah Halford, Regan Linton, Scott Patteson and Maurice Williams.
The creative team includes Kris Stone, scenic designer; Charlotte DeVaux Shields, costume designer; Matt Richards, lighting designer; UCSD Theatre Professor Shahrokh Yadegari, sound designer; Shirley Fishman, Dramaturg.
Making its West Coast premiere, Blood and Gifts tells the story of the secret spy war behind the official Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s. Spanning a decade and playing out in Washington DC, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the play offers up a slice of historical fiction laced with dark humor, as it follows the character of CIA operative Jim Warnock and his struggles to stop the Soviet Army's destruction of Afghanistan. The ground constantly shifts for Jim and his British, Russian and Pakistani counterparts as the political and personal alliances between the men keep changing. In this thrilling, high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse, Blood and Gifts depicts the unknown men who shaped one of the greatest historical events in recent history, the repercussions of which continue to shape our world. The New York Times hailed it as "a first-rate production with the taut grip of a spy novel. J.T. Rogers's knowledge of the hearts and minds of his characters is as deep as his grasp of the geopolitical games being played."
"Part spy thriller, part black comedy, J.T. Rogers's Blood and Gifts illuminates a controversial moment in recent American history, delving into the complex relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan in a way that constantly keeps audiences on The Edge of their seats," said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. "Given the current international climate, coupled with San Diego's military history and population, The Playhouse is the perfect place to host the West Coast premiere of Blood and Gifts."
For information on The Playhouse's 2012/2013 season, visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org or call The Playhouse Box Office at (858) 550-1010.
J. T. Rogers is the author of The Overwhelming, which debuted at The National Theatre in London and had its American premiere at the Roundabout Theater Company (top ten play of the year, Time Magazine). Blood and Gifts debuted at the National as well and had its American premiere last season at Lincoln Center Theater (top ten plays of the year, The New York Times). His works have been staged throughout the United States and in Australia, Canada, Israel, and Germany. He is a member of New Dramatists and the Dramatist Guild and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.