Plays by Henry Naylor

Angel  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Henry Naylor's Angel is a dramatic monologue for a female performer, inspired by the true story of Rehana, the 'Angel of Kobane', a Kurdish fighter who became a symbol of resistance against Islamic State. The play is part of Henry Naylor's Arabian Nightmares trilogy, which also includes The Collector and Echoes.

Angel was first performed at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, on 3 August 2016 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, winning a Fringe First award.

The story is narrated by Rehana, the 'Angel', who, according to a note in the script, 'tells her autobiographical story directly to the audience, through the "fourth wall"’. The action takes place in Syria, in 2014. The town of Kobane is under siege by ISIS, who, having steam-rollered through Iraq, are expecting to take the town easily. But the citizens have found a heroine: a crackshot sniper with a hundred kills to her name. And she appears indestructible. She's the legendary Angel of Kobane.

The premiere production was directed by Michael Cabot and performed by Filipa Bragança. In the subsequent tour of Australia (beginning at Mittagong Playhouse on 7 February 2017), Rehana was played by Avital Lvova.

Borders  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Henry Naylor's play Borders is a two-hander about idealism, personal and professional ethics, how the West interacts with the East, the conflict in Syria, and the migrant crisis. It was first produced as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Gilded Balloon Theatre, Edinburgh, as a Redbeard Theatre/Gilded Balloon production on 2 August 2017.

The play interweaves the converging stories (told mostly in monologue) of two characters: Sebastian Nightingale, a celebrated war photographer, whose audience with Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11 shaped his career; and a nameless young Syrian graffiti artist whose urge to rebel lands her in serious trouble as the Assad regime embarks on a civil war, and, six months pregnant, she finds herself on an ageing fishing boat in the Mediterranean, sinking fast under the weight of refugees.

The Redbeard Theatre/Gilded Balloon production was directed by Michael Cabot and performed by Graham O’Mara and Avital Lvova. It won the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Fringe Award and a Fringe First.

The script was rewritten for the Australian premiere at the Holden Street Theatre, Adelaide, on 12 February 2018, with the same cast directed by Louise Skaaning.

Borders was then performed at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston in May 2018 and at The Theatre Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop in June–July 2018, with the same cast, directed by Michael Cabot with Louise Skaaning.

The Collector  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Henry Naylor's The Collector is a play about life in occupied Iraq after the 2003 invasion by the US-led coalition, as a team of prison guards become brutalised by war. The play is part of Henry Naylor's Arabian Nightmares trilogy, which also includes Echoes and Angel.

The Collector was first performed at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, on 30 July 2014, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, winning a Fringe First award.

The story is told by three storytellers who, according to a note in the published script, 'speak directly to the audience, through the "fourth wall"’. There is Zoya, an Iraqi woman; Colonel ‘Kasper’ Kasprowicz, an American reservist in his forties, in charge of Mazrat Prison; and Foster, an American interrogator, female, twenty-four. Under Saddam, Mazrat was a notorious torture house where more than 10,000 people died; now it is under Allied command, and Nassir works there, translating for the American interrogators. He's local, pro-Western, determined to bring liberal values to his country and is about to get married to Zoya, his sweetheart. But when he is recognised by Faisal, a new prisoner and psychotic supporter of the old regime, Nassir's life becomes a living hell.

The premiere production was directed by Henry Naylor and performed by Ritu Arya (as Zoya), William Reay (as Kasper) and Lesley Harcourt (as Foster).

The show transferred to the Arcola Theatre, London, in November 2014, restaged by director Michael Cabot, and with lighting design by Ross Bibby.

Kathryn Barker Productions under the auspices of Kathryn Cabot launched their own tour of the show in autumn 2016, with the following cast: Shireen Farkhoy (as Zoya), William Reay (as Kasper) and Olivia Beardsley (as Foster).

Echoes  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Henry Naylor's play Echoes is a two-hander exploring aspects of colonialism, drawing parallels between the lives of a modern-day Jihadi bride and a Victorian pioneer. The play is part of Henry Naylor's Arabian Nightmares trilogy, which also includes The Collector and Angel.

Echoes was first performed at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, on 5 August 2015, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, transferring to the Arcola Theatre, London, later that year.

The story is told by two storytellers who, according to a note in the published script, 'speak directly to the audience, through the "fourth wall"’. Tillie is a 17-year-old Victorian pioneer, while Samira, also 17, is a Muslim schoolgirl. Both are from Ipswich, but they dream of a glorious future abroad. Samira wants to help build a caliphate; Tillie, an Empire. Both are idealists; intelligent adventurers, with strong religious beliefs. Both are frustrated by societies which offer them few opportunities. And both would travel to the East, to impose their ideals upon unwilling peoples.

The premiere production was directed by Henry Naylor and Emma Butler, and was performed by Felicity Houlbrooke (as Tillie) and Filipa Bragança (as Samira).

The cast stayed the same for the subsequent world tour, until 13 September 2016, when Rachel Smyth replaced Felicity in the role of Tillie, for the shows at the Brisbane Festival and the Melbourne Fringe. In April 2017, at the 59E59 Theater in New York, Serena Manteghi joined Rachel Smyth, and took the role of Samira.

Henry Naylor is a writer, performer, producer and director. He has written for many award-winning comedy shows including Smith & Jones, The Lenny Henry Show, Dead Ringers and Alistair McGowan's Big Impression. He was a lead writer on Spitting Image, and, together with his double-act partner Andy Parsons, he starred in nine series of Parsons & Naylor's Pull-Out Sections on BBC Radio 2. He also created, executive produced and directed the multi-award-winning Headcases for ITV1.
He has written plays including The Collector (Edinburgh Festival and Arcola Theatre, 2014), Echoes (Edinburgh Festival and Arcola Theatre, 2015) and Angel (Edinburgh Festival, 2016).