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A Reading with Lia Gladstone

By Mark Saunders

When author and playwright Lia Gladstone returned from teaching in Afghanistan, her American friends were curious and asked many questions. For instance, they wanted to know, did she have to wear a burka? Or how scary was Kabul?

Reading and Book Signing
Burn, I Am My Father’s Fire
and An Afghan Education
Fri, Apr 17, 5-6:30pm
Garrison and Garrison Books
Hidalgo 26
50 pesos

Hear the answers to these and other questions, including her best and worst experiences in Afghanistan, on Friday, April 17, at Garrison and Garrison Books. The bookstore will host a reading of Lia’s in-progress memoir about her experiences in Afghanistan, where she spent two years as professor of English and drama at American University in Kabul. The reading will also include excerpts from her gripping play, Burn, I Am My Father’s Fire, which she co-authored with one of her young Afghan students.

At the age of eight, Lia knew she wanted to share stories with others. She dressed up in her mother’s clothes, took over the family garage, and put on her first one-girl show, dragging in neighborhood kids to act as her audience. From those early garage-theater days, Lia went on to earn an MFA in playwriting and screenwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, studying with such playwrights as David Ives and Mac Wellman. Early in her career, Lia established a reputation for creating meaningful plays about issues that concern our contemporary world.

“I was disturbed to hear about women in Afghanistan committing suicide by setting themselves on fire in their kitchens,” recalled Lia. “But the setting made sense. It was the only place they were left alone and petrol was near at hand. There is even a special hospital for burn victims in the city of Herat.” More recently a woman was burned to death in Kabul on March 19, 2015.

A long-standing member of ICWP and Women Playwrights International (WPI), Lia brought eight of her students from Afghanistan to the 9th annual WPI meeting in Stockholm, where they performed the main event.

Copies of Burn, published in both English and Spanish, will be available for purchase, as well as a selection of her award winning photographs of Afghanistan.

“I’m very inspired by the theatricality found in San Miguel,” said Lia. “Especially during Semana Santa, like random appearances on hidden balconies of guitarists, opera singers, and giant puppets.” Productions of Lia’s plays are frequently multidimensional, employing dance, live music, video, and photos. In that vein, don’t be surprised if there are a few surprises in this presentation.

The reading and book signing will be held at Garrison and Garrison Books on Hidalgo 26 in the Plaza Bicentenario, 5-6:30pm. Your 50 pesos admission includes snacks and wine and is valid toward any purchase.


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