DISGRACED

by
Ayad Akhtar

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Disgraced is a 2012 play by novelist and screenwriter Ayad Akhtar. It premiered in Chicago and has had Off-Broadway and Off West End engagements. The play, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theater October 23, 2014. Disgraced has also been recognized with a 2012 Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work – Play or Musical and a 2013 Obie Award for Playwriting. It is Akhtar's first stage play. The 2014 Broadway transfer earned a Tony Award for Best Play nomination in 2015.

The Story

Corporate lawyer Amir Kapoor is living a wonderful life: he is happy, in love with his wife, and about to land the biggest promotion of his career. But when he briefly helps his nephew with a case defending a man of Muslim faith, Amir’s career and personal life begin to slowly unravel. When Amir and his artist wife, Emily, host an intimate dinner party with their two colleagues and friends, he begins to realize that the life he has built for himself may be a façade. Does achieving a Western ideal of happiness mean that Amir has denied his true Pakistani heritage? The friendly dinner party soon escalates into an intense conversation involving religion, race and violence. Accusations are spoken, truths are revealed, and Amir’s life will never be the same again. Disgraced questions whether we can ever truly escape the confines of our upbringing and our heritage.

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THE STORY:

 

The scene is the ornate, deserted Victorian boathouse on the Talley place in Lebanon, Missouri; the time 1944. Matt Friedman, an accountant from St. Louis, has arrived to plead his love to Sally Talley, the susceptible but uncertain daughter of the family. Bookish, erudite, totally honest, and delightfully funny, Matt refuses to accept Sally’s rebuffs and her fears that her family would never approve of their marriage. Charming and indomitable, he gradually overcomes her defenses, telling his innermost secrets to his loved one and, in return, learning hers as well. Gradually he awakens Sally to the possibilities of a life together until, in the final, touching moments of the play, it is clear that they are two kindred spirits who have truly found each other—two “lame ducks” who, in their union, will find a wholeness rare in human relationships.

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