Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Photo Flash: The Old Globe Presents A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS


The Old Globe's 2017-2018 Season continues with today's announcement of the complete cast and creative team for the Southern California debut of A Thousand Splendid Suns, Ursula Rani Sarma's sweeping and deeply moving theatrical production based on the best-selling book by Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner). Directed by Carey Perloff and presented in association with American Conservatory Theater, A Thousand Splendid Suns will run May 12 - June 17, 2018 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, Old Globe Theatre, Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Tickets start at $30.00 and are on sale to the general public now. Previews run May 12-16. Opening night is Thursday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m.

The epic story of three generations of Afghan women and their remarkable resilience, A Thousand Splendid Suns is set in the war-torn neighborhoods of 1990s Kabul. When battle upends her family, beautiful Laila must seek shelter, first in the home and then in the arms of her older neighbor. Soon she forges an extraordinary and unlikely friendship with Mariam, her new husband's first wife. Summoning the strength to defy a tyrannical society, the two women seek hope and the promise of a better future. Adapted for the stage by acclaimed Irish Indian playwright Ursula Rani Sarma, this breathtaking new production features music from renowned composer David Coulter. The Huffington Post says, "There's no denying the play's power as well as the beauty of its staging and its exquisite musical backdrop," while the San Francisco Chronicle heralds its "epic splendor," writing that it "dazzles with its opulence and humanity."

The cast includes Denmo Ibrahim as Mariam (A Thousand Splendid Suns at A.C.T. and Theatre Calgary, BABA at New York Theatre Workshop); Lanna Joffrey as Fariba, Nana, and Doctor (The Profane at Playwrights Horizons, Sad and Merry Madness and Measure for Measure at The Public Theater); Haysam Kadri as Rasheed and Talib Soldier (Suns at A.C.T. and Theatre Calgary, The Revenant, "Hell on Wheels"); Joseph Kamal as Babi, Mullah Faizullah, Interrogator, and Zaman (Dinner at Eight at Lincoln Center Theater, Homebody/Kabul at New York Theatre Workshop); Jason Kapoor as Abdul Sharif, Jalil, and Wakil (Suns at A.C.T., Ideation Off Broadway); Nadine Malouf as Laila (Suns at A.C.T., Martyna Majok's queens at Lincoln Center's LCT3); Nikita Tewani as Aziza (Suns at A.C.T. and Theatre Calgary, "Falling Water"); Antoine Yared as Tariq and Soldier (Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at Stratford Festival, Edgar in King Lear in Toronto), Abraham German and Arden Pala alternating performances as Zalmai, and local ensemble members Mondis Vakili and Kris Zarif.

The creative team includes Ken MacDonald (Scenic Design), Linda Cho (Costume Design), Robert Wierzel (Lighting Design), Jake Rodriguez (Sound Design), David Coulter (Original Music), Stephen Buescher (Choreographer), Janet Foster, CSA (Casting), Haysam Kadri (Associate Director), and Elisa Guthertz (Production Stage Manager).

Ursula Rani Sarma (Playwright) is an award-winning writer of Irish Indian descent. She has written plays for Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland in Dublin, as well as American Conservatory Theater, Ambassador Theatre Group, Traverse Theatre, Paines Plough, and the BBC, amongst many other companies. Her recent productions include Joanne (Clean Break, Soho Theatre), Débris (Théâtre La Licorne), The Ripple Effect (Ambassador Theatre Group/London Cultural Olympiad), Yerma (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Riot (A.C.T. Young Conservatory/Theatre Royal Bath), The Dark Things (Traverse Theatre), and Birdsong (Abbey Theatre). Ms. Sarma has been writer-in-residence for Paines Plough, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and Royal National Theatre, among other companies. She is currently developing plays for Abbey Theatre, Traverse Theatre, and Djinn Theatre Company. For the screen, her work includes "Raw," "Red Rock," Anywhere but Here, and Judge Dee. She is currently adapting the book Henry's Demons for BBC One and writing an original drama entitled Guardian for Channel 4.

Khaled Hosseini (Original Book) was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1976, his family relocated to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then the Soviet invasion was underway, so the Hosseini family moved to San Jose, California. Mr. Hosseini went on to become a doctor, practicing medicine as an internist between 1996 and 2004. He is the author of three award-winning and internationally best-selling novels: The Kite Runner (2003), A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), and And the Mountains Echoed (2013). In 2006, Mr. Hosseini was named a Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency. After a trip to Afghanistan in this position, he was inspired to establish The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a not-for-profit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

Carey Perloff (Director) is celebrating her 25th season as Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theater, where she commissioned and developed this adaptation of A Thousand Splendid Suns. Known for innovative productions of classics and for championing new writing and new forms of theatre, she has directed classical plays from around the world, 10 plays by Tom Stoppard (including the American premieres of The Invention of Love and Indian Ink, also at Roundabout Theatre Company, and two productions of Arcadia), and many productions by favorite contemporary writers such as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, José Rivera, and Philip Kan Gotanda. Her other productions include Hecuba, Mary Stuart, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, The Tosca Café, The Voysey Inheritance, Scorched, and Underneath the Lintel. Ms. Perloff is also an award-winning playwright. Her recent play Kinship premiered at the Théâtre de Paris in 2014; Higher won the 2011 Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Theatre Visions Fund Award; and Luminescence Dating premiered in New York at Ensemble Studio Theatre. Ms. Perloff's book, Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater (City Lights Foundation Books), was selected as San Francisco Public Library's One City One Book selection for 2016. Before joining A.C.T., she was Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company in New York, where she directed the premiere of Ezra Pound's Elektra, the American premiere of Pinter's Mountain Language, and many classic works. Named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, Ms. Perloff received a B.A. Phi Beta Kappa in Classics and Comparative Literature from Stanford University and was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford.

American Conservatory Theater (Co-Producer), San Francisco's Tony Award-winning not-for-profit theatre, nurtures live theatre through Dynamic Productions, intensive actor training, and community engagement. It embraces its responsibility to conserve, renew, and reinvent its rich theatrical traditions while exploring new artistic forms and communities. A.C.T. opened its first San Francisco season in 1967 and has since performed more than 350 productions to more than 7 million people. A.C.T.'s 50-year-old Conservatory features its master of fine arts actor training program, its Summer Training Congress that attracts students worldwide, and the San Francisco Semester, a study-abroad opportunity for undergraduates. Its other programs include the Young Conservatory (for students aged 8-19) and Studio A.C.T., theatre study for adults. A.C.T. also brings theatre-based arts education to 16,000 Bay Area students annually. With its increased presence in the Central Market neighborhood, marked by the renovation of The Strand Theater, A.C.T. plays a leadership role in securing the future of theatre for San Francisco and the nation.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is supported in part through gifts from Production Sponsor Debra Turner, as well as Artist Sponsors Sue and Edward "Duff" Sanderson (for director Carey Perloff) and Reneé and Bob Wailes (for Nadine Malouf, playing Laila). Financial support is provided by The City of San Diego.

Additional events taking place during the run of A Thousand Splendid Suns include:

VICKI AND CARL ZEIGER INSIGHTS SEMINAR: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

An opportunity to closely connect with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in an informal and illuminating presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatregoing experience. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE.


Afghan cultural consultant Humaira Ghilzai, who worked on the original production of A Thousand Splendid Suns with authors Khaled Hosseini and Ursula Rani Sarma, will discuss the development and creation of the play. Ghilzai will also talk about the history of Afghanistan in the time period of the novel and play. FREE.

SUBJECT MATTERS: Saturday, May 19, following the 2:00 p.m. matinee.

Afghan cultural consultant Humaira Ghilzai joins audiences for a brief, illuminating post-show discussion to talk about the history and culture of Afghanistan. Subject Matters will ignite discussion, bring the play's concerns into sharp focus, and encourage you to think beyond the stage! FREE.

POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesdays, May 22 and 29, and Wednesday, June 6.

Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast, crew, and/or Globe staff members. Get the inside story on creating a character and putting together a professional production. FREE.


This free evening discussion will focus on the work of the San Diego Jalalabad Sister Cities Foundation. The evening will culminate with a Skype video conference call with a group of Afghan women participating in a program in which they learn English and technological skills. Globe audience members will have the chance to hear about their daily lives, ask questions, and participate in conversation. FREE.

SINGLE TICKETS to A Thousand Splendid Suns start at $30.00 and are on sale to the general public now. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, military members, and groups of 10 or more.

Performances begin on May 12, 2018 and continue through June 17, 2018. Performance times: Previews: Saturday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, May 15 at 7:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. Opening night is Thursday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m. Regular performances (May 18 - June 17): Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, June 6 at 2:00 p.m. and no matinee performance on Saturday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m.

The Old Globe is located in San Diego's Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. Through a special arrangement with the San Diego Zoo, Old Globe evening ticket-holders have the opportunity to pre-purchase valet parking in the Zoo's employee parking structure. With a drop-off point just a short walk to the Globe, theatregoers may purchase fast, easy, convenient valet parking for just $14 per vehicle per evening. Pre-paid only, available only by phone through The Old Globe Box Office. Call (619) 234-5623 or visit The Balboa Park valet is also available during performances, located in front of the Japanese Friendship Garden. For additional parking information visit

There are numerous free parking lots available throughout the park. Guests may also be dropped off in front of the Mingei International Museum. There is a 10-minute zone at The Old Globe, used only for daytime deliveries, ticket purchases, and handicapped access dropoff. For directions and up-to-date information, please visit

Photos by Kevin Berne.

Photo Flash: The Old Globe Presents A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
Denmo Ibrahim as Fariba, Barzin Akhavan as Babi, and Nadine Malouf as Laila

Photo Flash: The Old Globe Presents A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
Pomme Koch, Jason Kapoor, and musician and composer David Coulter

Photo Flash: The Old Globe Presents A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
Barzin Akhavan as Investigator and Laila (Nadine Malouf) with Pomme Koch (center)

Photo Flash: The Old Globe Presents A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
Haysam Kadri as Rasheed, Kate Rigg as Mariam, and Nadine Malouf as Laila

Related Articles View More San Francisco Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You