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December 3, 2021

#Play Ayad Aktar Pulitzer Prize 2013 Drama

by N@ncy

  • Playwright:  Ayad Akhtar (1970)
  • Title: Disgraced
  • Genre: play (1 act; 4 scenes)
  • Opening night: January 2012
  • Trivia: Nominated  Tony Award for Best Play 2015
  • Trivia:  Winner Pulitzer Prize Drama 2013
  • Monthly reading plan
  • #ReadDiversely 2021



Quote from The Economist:

  • Akhtar’s tales of assimilation
  • “are as essential today as the work of
  • Saul Bellow, James Farrell, and Vladimir Nabokov
  • were in the 20th century
  • …in capturing the drama of the immigrant experience.


  1. Well, this gives you an idea where Ayad Aktar stands compared
  2. to the great writers of the 20th C!
  3. A Pulitzer Prize winning play
  4. …always needs to be researched before reading.
  5. I discovered so much that otherwise would have passed me by


  1. Character development: fury –> rage –> violence  (Amir, Isaac)
  2. Characters represent different parts of society:
  3. Amir:  Pakistani muslim lawyer; apostate, abandons Islam
  4. Isaac: Jewish  museum curator; defends Judaism, Israel
  5. Emily: American privileged artist (wife Amir); fervently embraces Islamic art
  6. Abe: Pakistani muslim (nephew Amir); zealot;  uncompromising belief in Islam
  7. Jory: African-American lawyer (wife Isaac) objects to misogynistic Islam
  8. Plot: Volatile combination of characters at dinner party
  9. …that needs just a spark to explode (read play and discover spark!)
  10. Timeline: opening scene, 2 weeks later (SC2), 3 months later (SC3), 6 months later (SC 4)
  11. Location: Amir and Emily’s apartment, East Side New York City
  12. Spin-in-the-web:  Islamic faith, it connects all the actors
  13. Themes: Islamophobia  – racism – tribalism


Strong point:  literary device dramatic irony

  1. Aktar arranges the dialogue and exit/entrances of characters 
  2. so  the audience knows more
  3. than the character they are watching on stage!
  4. #Classic way to create tension and suspense


Strong point:  title  “Disgraced”

  1. The title “Disgraced” is the core message of the play.
  2. What it feels like….and what people do as reaction.
  3. Amir learn about 3 shocks in his life:
  4. back round check at law-firm, wife’s affair,
  5. …NO promotion as full partner at work
  6. He feels “disgraced”.
  7. What happens?
  8. Amir reacts with kick-the-dog effect.”
  9. Anger and frustration leads him to lash out at innocent people….



  1. I’m trying to read 50 Best Plays of the last 100 years.
  2. But there are many plays in the 21st C that are not on this list.
  3. I expect Disgraced to be one on the best of the 2000s
  4. I don’t see many “plays” on reading lists.
  5. Try to think of a play as a “surgically crafted” novella
  6. …extremely accurate and precise.

Read more from #ReadDiversely, plays

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