The Kite Runner is a stage adaption of Afghan novelist's Khaled Hosseini's 2003 book, The Kite Runner. Aside from sharing the 2003 book as a source, it is unrelated to the 2007 film The Kite Runner. The play was adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler and premiered at San Jose Repertory Theatre in 2009.
The fast-paced play depicts most of what happens in the book. As in the book, The Kite Runner is narrated by Amir, who is obsessed with an "unatoned sin" he committed as a well-off child in 1970s Kabul: Amir betrayed his childhood friend, servant, and kite running partner Hasan when Amir's cowardice, and his desperate need to please his father, cause him to abandon Hasan in the face to a vicious and shocking attack by a neighborhood bully. In 2001, Amir has settled in America when he receives a call telling him: "There is a way to be good again." He then takes a dangerous trip, on the eve of the American invasion, into Taliban-controlled Kabul.
The play preserves the book's conflicted, guilt-ridden narrative voice, plunging in with its opening paragraphs. It establishes the rueful reminiscent tone as an older Amir, the Kabul-born novelist haunted by his childhood betrayal of his best friend (and servant) Hassan.
The childhood flashback plays out in some striking scenes, with a resolute Baba embodying the impressive, highly principled but remote father the child desperately wants to impress. As in the book, Hassan is more lovable than quirky, neurotic young Amir. It's only after the harrowing rape of Hassan by the insidious neighborhood psychopath the play settles into place, as young Amir, guilt-ridden over his inability to protect Hassan, connives to get rid of him.