BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: A Play by David Hare, adapted from the book by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by David Hare on BookDragonWhen Pulitzer-ed MacArthur ‘Genius’ Katherine Boo’s first (and thus far only) book debuted in January 2012, I predicted it would be found alongside the nominees/finalists for all the Very Important Literary Prizes that year – indeed, among  many, many honors, Boo won the 2012 National Book Award for Nonfiction. What never even crossed my mind is that it might hit the stage … no less sifted through the genius of David Hare, one of the world’s greatest living playwrights. Mind you, Hare’s superb adaptation is not a substitute for Boo’s astounding debut – surely it will entice you to read the original text if you haven’t already. Think of Hare’s feat as a stellar enhancement.

Debuting in November 2014 at London’s lauded National Theatre, the play has been beamed around the world via NT-Live which brings celluloid versions of actual stage productions in HD to a movie theater near you. [If you don’t know about NT-Live, click here now – you’ll get the very best theater (period!) for extremely low cost, minimal travel, and virtually no loss in production value]. Talk about accessibility!

Boo’s (true!) narrative about the inhabitants of the “sumpy plug of slum” known as Annawadi, located next to the ever-modernizing international Mumbai airport, is an unforgettable accomplishment of meticulous research and unblinking honesty. With empathy and humor, heartbreak and hope, Hare renders Boo’s vast reportage into a vibrant two-hours-and-forty-minutes that not only pass too quickly, but will leave you feeling as if you were there amidst the warring Husains and their next-hovel neighbor One Leg, inside the home of the slightly advantaged Waghekar family, alongside the desperate teenage friendship between Manu and Kehkashan. Perhaps most of all, the 12-year-old Sunil – who starts and ends the play – with his simple, everyday wants – ketchup packets, chocolate, shoelaces – will haunt you long after the final bows.

To illuminate your experience even further, thank Stateside publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Their slim, bright script arrives this month across the Pond for us to ruminate over, highlight passages, dogear pages, quote from, and just appreciate its immense power once more.

Tidbit: For the Beautiful trailer, click here. For more information about the National Theatre production, click here.

Readers: Adult

Published: 2014 (United Kingdom), 2015 (United States)


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