Blood and Gifts Agenda Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 28 2013

If you want to learn how U.S. involvement in the Russian-Afghan war sewed the seeds of 9/11—and Steve Coll's magnificent, 652-page Ghost Wars is too daunting an undertaking—J.T. Rogers's 2010 play is a good start. In the gripping first act, Rogers puts operatives from the CIA, MI6, and ISI on the ground in Pakistan, each hoping to advance his nation's short-term interests by arming just the right Afghan warlords. Afghan commander Khan, meanwhile, plays all ends against the middle. Even though their acting styles can clash, director Nick Bowling's cast make the four-sided chess match harrowing. While the second act loses some urgency—the action moves from shell-shocked Pakistan to buttoned-down D.C.—Timeline Theatre Company's swift, cunningly designed production is always engaging. —Justin Hayford

Price: $22-$42

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