The Wales Millennium Centre has collaborated with Hamed Amiri and his family to bring their extraordinary story, The Boy With Two Hearts, to the stage, and it’s one which could inspire viewers and give insight into one family’s struggle for freedom and safety.
Driven out of Afghanistan due to Hamed’s mother speaking out against a fundamentalist leader, the family embark on an arduous and dangerous journey across Europe, passing through vast and daunting countries as big as Russia – the United Kingdom being their targeted oasis. The family’s crisis is exacerbated by their eldest son’s life-threatening heart condition; as such, the story has been described as a ‘love letter’ to the NHS, which provided the medical care that the family needed.
The Boy With Two Hearts promises to mesmerise and deeply touch all those who witness it. A story of bravery, trial and heroism, the play was developed from the book written by Amiri, which reviews conclude to be a highly emotive read, so we expect the stage production to be similarly moving.
The real-life characters of the story, meanwhile, have been described as ‘saintly’. Let’s not forget that the catalyst for their treacherous journey was the bravery and integrity of Hamed’s mother in standing up for equality and women’s rights in Herat.
The production comes at an uncanny time given the instability of current affairs in Afghanistan, offering viewers an authentic look into the experiences of asylum seekers leaving the country. This heartbreaking adaptation will hopefully broaden and shift the perspective of immigration in the United Kingdom and worldwide – imparting a better understanding of why refugees flee their homelands by elaborating on this family’s background and the strength of character and determination that is required to set out on such a journey.
The production’s creative team, assembled by Wales Millennium Centre, is led by Amit Sharma with a cast made up of Afghan performers Shamail Ali (Hessam), Farshid Rokey (Hamed) and Ahmad Sakhi (Hussein), who play the Amiri brothers, as well as the award-winning Afghan vocalist and composer, Elaha Soroor. They are joined by Dana Haqjoo and Géhane Strehler.
words YASMIN GRANT