“It is time for recognition of the true equality of men and women.” The story of Persian poetess, first feminist and suffrage martyr is brought to life in Delia Olam’s captivating one woman show.
It is a bold and unique performance that uses music, poetry and distinct characterisation to differentiate between the different people whose lives were affected by Tahirih. We hear the thoughts and feelings from her friend, servant, father and executioner.
The production creatively uses a lilac headscarf as the constant in the performance. The headscarf is worn by Delia in a multitude of ways to distinguish each character. Her ability to transform from the assertive and outraged father, to the timidly anxiously servant and eventually the empowering Tahirih, is truly remarkable.
All of her characters address the audience with a wide-eyed gaze, her intensity inviting the audience into each character’s mind. Even using audience interaction, she engages with each audience member by making them tea and greeting them as she enters.
Using both dialogue and music, Delia plays various string instruments live on stage behind a sheer curtain. Her vocals are extraordinary as she sings the lyrical poems with passion and soul as the shadowed figure that isn’t revealed to us until the very end.
Tahirih appears softly spoken but is described by her counterparts as having “forgotten her role as a woman.” Many are disgusted at her outspoken nature but she continues on with standing up for her rights as a woman. As the piece progresses we learn about the power of her voice, she is a forgotten feminist that made a strong impact on the equality movement.
It is an inspiring and shocking story that has a strong relevance to today’s feminist movement. Delia Olam pours her heart into an eye-opening piece of theatre that is beautifully moving.
**** 4 stars
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Tickets can be found here.