Join us as #AThousandSplendidSuns makes its return to A.C.T.!

Based on the international best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns is the epic story of three generations of Afghan women who are bound together by marriage, family, and a secret past, amid the war-torn streets of modern-day Kabul. Adapted for the stage by acclaimed Irish-Indian playwright Ursula Rani Sarma, this stunning production reunites many of the original cast members and will, once again, feature live music from renowned composer and saw player David Coulter.

  • 12 dates · 17 Jul – 29 Jul



"But the most impressive production element is the music, composed and played by David Coulter. The eerie, melodious sounds of the saw open the show. Throughout the piece, Coulter plays around a dozen other instruments, including thunder sheets, springs, and a violin. It’s not Afghani music: The soundscape of the play represents its emotional landscape rather than its physical landscape, very successfully."


"There is also a partially improvised score, performed live by composer David Coulter, which is as thoroughly integrated as a movie soundtrack, but never obtrusive."


"Framed by David Coulter’s haunting and delicate score, which he plays live on musical saw and other instruments, “Suns” musters the cathartic release of an epic tragedy tinged ever so slightly with hope. By the time the sun is setting on the characters, it’s hard to beat back the tears that prick at your eyes."


"An excellent score composed and played by David Coulter smooths over the faster, rougher transitions and gives a through-line to the work."


"Original music by David Coulter (who collaborated on ACT’s storied “Black Rider” in 2004), on the saw, the guitar, and strange, percussive instruments, helps new moods creep into scenes, imbuing them with eerie or tender undercurrents that feel inextricably connected to yet apart from what’s onstage."


"David Coulter composed and performed the subtle and exotic score, playing on (this is from his program bio) “musical saw and other weird and less weird instruments,” and adding immensely to the shifting moods."


"The music too — a haunting, metallic score from David Coulter — is an abstraction rather than a product of Afghan culture."


"Composer David Coulter’s music well compliments these quick changes and overall tone of the production."


"The production has a hauntingly gorgeous original score written and performed by David Coulter"


"A live musical score composed and played by David Coulter brings at time, tears."


"The play’s score from David Coulter, including the uncanny sound of a saw, gave the production a sense of minimalist timelessness and made me imagine that the action took place somewhere away from normal reality. At once I was in a faraway country and also in some sort of universal theater of the mind, grappling with human issues that transcended any specific locale. This score worked well if the intent was to make the setting seem different, to remind us that we were no longer in San Francisco and had to abandon preconceptions about how the characters’ world worked and how they would view events."


"But it is the music, written and performed by David Coulter, that provides the most powerful backdrop, adeptly creating a sense of tension and place throughout the play's entire two and a half hours. "


"The larger than life set is complimented by an original score, written and played live by the composer, David Coulter. Coulter stands stage right in a mini-orchestra booth, hardly separated from the audience. He makes us feel a part of more than a theatrical experience. Playing the musical saw and other unique instruments, Coulter completes the emotional immersion."


"Based on the novel written by Khaled Hosseini, the production has a hauntingly gorgeous original score written and performed by David Coulter"


With his original music reflecting the region and the emotional elements of the story (all played on instruments true to Afghani traditions), David Coulter provides an ongoing stream of haunting notes and melodies that accentuate the epic yet microscopic view the playwright and director lay out before us of daily life in war-torn Kabul.


"The whole is hugely enhanced by original music performed live on saw and assorted percussion instruments by David Coulter."


David CoulterComment