On Saturday night, I went to see Ayad Akhtar’s play “Disgraced” (2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama) at Lyceum Theater. This play centers around Amir, a New York corporate lawyer who finds himself reckoning with his heritage –born in Pakistan, raised Muslim – in a series of conversations and confrontations. Amir, played by the magnificent Hari Dhillon, begins to devolve after a lifetime of tamping down his background. Mr. Dhillon is nuanced and subtle in his portrayal as each layer is peeled away. When Amir’s desperation and displaced anger lashes out in the crescendo scene, every moment has been earned. His performance gave me goosebumps it was so raw and powerful.
Emily, Amir’s wife, played by Gretchen Mol is a wonderful counterpoint. Emily is an artistic idealist who tries to push Amir to embrace his heritage only to slowly discover how deeply he’s buried that part of himself. At times, there is a naiveté that Ms. Mol brings to the role that works without being disingenuous. Josh Radnor playing Isaac and Karen Pittman as Jory share a memorable dinner with Amir and Emily. Jory had some of the best one-liners and Ms. Pittman delivered them beautifully.
There is one scene with Amir’s young cousin Abe played by Danny Ashok at the end of the play that is heartbreaking. After the aftermath of the previous scenes, it felt like adding salt to the wounds but so well done nonetheless. This play is directed by Kimberly Senior.
“Disgraced” began preview performances on Sept. 27 and opens on Oct. 23.
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