Review: Hear Me Roar (Burn Bright, Zoom)

An excellent set of seven short plays made their debut on Monday night in a Zoom presentation called Hear Me Roar, produced by Burn Bright.

The brief was a simple one: things you want to say, things you wish you have said, what you know now.

Each piece was performed by its writer, and a vast range of topics were covered in this celebration of women’s voices, plus an interview with Emilia creator Morgan Lloyd-Malcolm.

In Lauren-Nicole Mayes’s play, Dear Little Loz, a deeply personal piece focusing on sexual harassment and the vulnerability of the female space fizzed with energy as the text took on an almost poetic rhythm.

Gail Egbeson’s Email Sent was lighter, funnier, and honest, considering the online persona we create, and what is said in that space. It conveys a lot in a short time.

If you are a homeschooler or working from home, you may have sympathy for Anna Morris’s Ali in Junk Room. In the pandemic, she finds she longs for the space to “miss” both husband and child, who are driving her to the edge of lockdown insanity with the former’s headset and the latter’s personality.

In Table for One, Tiwa Lade’s Zoom dater reflects and overshares in this dark, weird, piece, but her performance brings out depression and loneliness very well.

Chantelle Dusette looks back on childhood memories and first love in Lent, a piece which mixed regret with a wry look at religious observance (“why does giving up something make God happy”).

Men, harassment, perception came to the fore again in Soph Galustian’s Alone in the Night. An excellent, focused piece which has been popping into my head since.

Finally, Kelly Hampson’s Mum, by Pegeen Murphy, takes us back to the killer heels and big hair of the 1980s, and the school-gate mum we all aspire to be when we grow up.

Hear Me Roar is about women’s voices, their visibility, their confidence, how they are viewed by men, and even by other women. Too often these viewpoints are sidelined or silenced, so events celebrating female concerns (whether serious or amusing) are sorely needed.

You can find out more about Burn Bright at their website. They do excellent work supporting female and female-identifying writers, so check them out.