'her house is gone
Her home is destroyed
Her world has changed
… I am her'
'Her', the latest collaboration by Half Moon Theatre and Brolly Productions is a live graphic novel, which encapsulates stage theatricality, film and animation expertise and clever technology - to tell the audience how the life of a fifteen year old female is clearly not all boys, lipstick and smartphones; all across the globe.
Our normal protagonist comes home to find: her house gone, her neighbours gone and streets deserted. 'Her' charts a 'dark and twisted world' where war, politics and survival have made an innocent female an alien in her own country. One actor navigates the disturbing realities faced by children in conflict zones and the unsettling choices they are forced to make.
Bristol Old Vic graduate Shala Nyx plays all roles; male and female. Whether she's a schoolgirl, a soldier, young mother or even a domineering coach driver... it's safe to say she should be congratulated for taking on this demanding project. She's risen to the challenge and is a talented professional. There are moments of narrative disclarity, however I do not feel that Nyx is accountable for this. One particularly memorable scene, is where Nyx has to prove her worth in order to (as she thinks) get a bus ticket. Chilling is an understatement for this scene. Alongside the screen animations, there's no holding back as director Dominic Hingorani subverts our expectations by showing us what we don't expect to see.
A particular risk with one-person shows is they can lack a certain 'something' - typically interaction on stage, which makes theatre what it is. 'Her' fell into this trap and although Nyx engaged with screen characters, the energy was different and left the audience restive. With social media dominating society, I'm unsure that I want this trend of technology dominating a scene to continue and leave the audience a little withdrawn, rather than pulsated.
There's no doubt that 'Her' is a compilation on truthful research and honest testimony from cases in Syria, or Bosnia. A play entirely about a female perspective is satisfying in our patriarchal society and relatable to Khaled Hosseini's bestseller 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', who now has a London play of his hit 'The Kite Runner' ('TKR'). 'Her' is the male counterpart to 'TKR', which I adore! But, overall, 'Her' has achieved its purpose of educating its audiences, but is occasionally too 'bitty' and the story is confusing. I'm not saying I disliked it, I appreciated 'Her' and know it wasn't entirely satisfying to me but others may feel differently. Let me know your comments below.
Follow the 'Her' tour via the Brolly Productions' website.