Play telling the dramatic tale of family’s flight from Afghanistan premiers in Cardiff
Tonight, at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, the remarkable story of a family fleeing from Afghanistan to Wales makes its stage debut.
Adapted for the stage by Phil Porter, The Boy with Two Hearts began life as a novel by Hamed Amiri and featured last year as a Radio 4 Book of the Week.
Twenty years ago in Herat, the Taliban gave an order for the execution of Hamed Amiri’s mother after she gave a speech on women’s rights, so the family had no choice but to flee.
Their long and dangerous journey took them across Russia and through Europe, reaching the UK in the back of a suffocating lorry, which nearly killed Hamed’s brother, eighteen months later.
The family’s arrival in the UK was however only the beginning of a new journey through the treatment and complexities of Hamed’s elder brother Hussain’s serious heart condition.
Hamed began to write his story soon after the death of his brother three years ago but said that he believed coming to the UK, and with the help of the NHS, his brother gained seventeen or eighteen extra years of life.
He says he feels the essence of his brother in the rehearsal room, and the other actors and musicians in the performance feel deeply connected to the process, because of the plight of those once more needing to flee their homeland.
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In this video, Hamed Amiri introduces The Boy With Two Hearts, adapted for the stage from his novel of the same name.
— WalesMillenniumCentre (@theCentre) September 17, 2021
Today, Hamid’s excitement was tangible as he tweeted “Not gonna lie, didn’t sleep last night…Excited, emotional and just on a high, knowing my family journey is on the big stage from tonight!”
Reflecting on the dramatisation process and working with Hamid, Phil Porter said: “He’s a class act and it’s been a huge privilege working with him to tell his family’s story.”
The Amiri family are living in Cardiff and are closely involved in this new Wales Millennium Centre production, on from 2 – 23 October, and some performances will be just for women and children.
All performances will be creatively captioned in English for the d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing community. The captions will be artistically embedded within the production using projections.
The performances on Tuesday 19 October, 7.30pm and Saturday 23 October, 2.30pm will be Audio Described.