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AY KASH / ای کاش / IF ONLY

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AY KASH / ای کاش / IF ONLY

‘Under the Starry Afghan Sky ’ collective in association with Cosmino Productions

World Premiere of a brand -new theatre / art / activism event

Eleven girls use their pens, paints and  voices to share their memories and experiences since the Taliban took  power in 2021 and offer their hopes and dreams for a better future.


Eleven girls
With our hearts full of hope and desire.
With tears in our eyes and trembling legs, with no way to escape.
We are sitting in our bedrooms in Afghanistan and slowly dying.
Every time we rise to show ourselves, our legs are showered with bullets.
Eleven girls who only ask to be allowed to study, to travel, to let our  hair fly in the wind and, from all the riches in this world, own a  bicycle. Is it too much to ask? Is it too much if I want to become a  psychologist? Or a painter?
Too much if I want to fall in love and have my heart broken? Too much if I prefer freedom over longing?
What it my hair turns grey, and my lips are never kissed?
We never wanted our share of the sky to simply be able to gaze at the moon from our bedroom windows.
I want to swim in the sky. Do I want too much?
Eleven brave warriors, standing against the Taliban’s oppression with our pens, art, poetry, and music.
Ay Kash is the voice of a nation sleeping in blood, the voice of a wounded geography.
Don’t let our desire to swim in the sky, rot in our hearts.
Don’t let the desire to take hold of our pen and fight, disappear.

#StandwithAfghanwomen #ThePeninsteadoftheGun


Since the withdrawal of the US in August 2021, the situation for  women in Afghanistan has spiralled into despair. Women do not even have  rights to be violated. They have lost the ability to learn, graduate,  fall in love, travel alone, go for a walk in the park, or ride a  bicycle. Ay Kash / ای کاش / If Only is a hybrid performance  featuring live on-stage action and filmed “interaction” with eleven  young women in Kabul & Herat, Afghanistan. Their true identities  will remain hidden because it is simply too dangerous to do otherwise,  but what they want to tell you will be given life and poetic space. And  they want to tell you many things: they want to tell you the history of  their country from their perspective, their personal stories since the  Taliban have taken power, the stories of their mothers, their  grandmothers and their hopes and dreams for the future. All this and  more will burst into life with the help of song, object theater,  storytelling and AI. 

Text: S
Photo: Rhea Schmitt 

Design: F

The performance also features animations designed  to protect the identities of the eleven young women by Berlin artist Anna Benner.  In addition to the live performance, there is a touring exhibition  featuring artwork, texts and soundscapes by the young women.


Under the Starry Afghan Sky are eleven young women aged between 15 – 23 living in Kabul &  Heart, Afghanistan under Taliban rule. The collective evolved out of the  work of Herat Online School founded by the educational activist Angela Ghayour who herself fled  Afghanistan in 1992 and is facilitated by Rachel Karafistan of Cosmino Productions.

14. Sept. 2023

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von

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English Theatre Berlin

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