Broken Wings at Theatre Royal Haymarket
Based on the novel published in Arabic in 1912, Broken Wings is a poetic tale of love and resistance against the stubbornly unchanging aspects of a culture that views women as household objects to be merely passed around behind closed doors. A young Kahlil Gibran speaks of his first love, who he champions for her intelligent company as well as her unequalled beauty but who – bound by wealth, religion and obligation – marries the adulterous nephew of the local priest. In this tale, which the author and poet described as a “spiritual biography,” the literary figure advocates his views on the rights of women and the moral code of a religious organisation that unites couples in holy matrimony for wealth and power, exercising control over people’s faith and manipulating a sense of devotion to their religion – his many conflicting emotions embodied in the song That Was The Day.
Selma (Nikita Johal) and Young Gibran (Rob Houchen) go through the many stages of love, loss and pain in Beirut while the poet-narrator – an older incarnation of the writer (Nadim Naaman) – looks on from his desk in New York. This uniting of the two worlds displays the very essence of the novelist, who transcends time and space – ordinarily defined by nationality and belief – to give us his masterpiece The Prophet.
The strength and perseverance of women is most celebrated in the role of Mother (Soophia Foroughi), whose powerfully magnificent voice resonates into the hearts of all in the number Spirit of the Earth.
Broken Wings fetes the excellence of playwrights Dana Al Fardan and Nadim Naaman, who capture beautifully the transcendental yet classical universality of Gibran’s poetic lyricism. The reminiscences of life in Lebanon which the protagonist’s older self recalls from his New York studio are captured in the harmony of classic instrumentation with Arabic melodies pumped, like a heartbeat, by the hammered dulcimer. Accompanying the set design by Mira Abad, producer Ali Matar, director Bronagh Lagan and the exceptional musical director Joe Davison deliver an evening of harmony and passion in an Oriental reverie of romance, tragedy, poetry and contemplation.
Photo: Marc Brenner
Broken Wings is at Theatre Royal Haymarket from 1st August until 4th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.