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Character Analysis : Arabian Nightmares

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Angel is the journey of a young girl, Rehana, and the loss of her innocence on the way to an adulthood thrust upon her by circumstance, combat, and war. Through the power of a brilliantly constructed script and a truly dynamic performance, the performance leaves tears in eyes and many thoughts left in heads about this unknown war. This piece brings home the devastation and despair much sharper than any news report could ever do. Angel is the third instalment of a trilogy entitled Arabian Nightmares.

Rehana (Angel) is a near-mythical figure who during the siege of Kobane (a Syrian town near the Turkish border) is believed to have killed 100 ISIS fighters while protecting the area for the Kurdish YPG. As the accompanying notes that you
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However, with each kill Rehana feels a little piece of herself die. Like the pistachios grown on her father’s farm, her skin is stripped away to reveal a hard centre, leading to an internal moral struggle which outweighs anything faced on the battlefield. This is shown through the characterisation of Rehana and her obvious character development for the audience as the piece progresses.

While Angel continues his exploration of issues in the Middle East, it ups both the ante and the pace, requiring an actor of incredible emotional range and physical endurance.

Russian-born, Berlin-raised, London-trained Avital Lvova is that actor, capable of conveying an incredible intensity and diversity of emotion through her face and eyes alone.

She appears on a sparse stage in a green tank top and army pants. The stage and walls are black. A large wine barrel sits on the stage. Lvova does the entire show solo – no props, soundtrack, or effects; stage lighting is her only aid.

The simplicity of the barren set, when contrasted with Avital’s powerful performance, produces a traumatic, harrowing and confronting piece. Through this, the audience vicariously lives out the emotive, and raw rendition of the ‘legend’ of Rehana, as well as the stories of many other women who have suffered at the hand of ISIS forces. Their untold experiences have been intertwined in the performance, through relatable acting, and empathy felt by the audience due to Lvova’s captivating
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