From 1939 up until 1945, World War II would impact the lives of many military personnel and civilians. Referred to as a global war, a total of 30 countries took to battle across various continents. The war would witness a conflict between the Allies (Great Britain, The United States of America, China, The Soviet Union and the Commonwealth) and the Axis (Nazi Germany, Empire of Japan and the Kingdom of Italy amongst other countries). There are particular figures attributed for the Allies’ victory and applauded for their efforts, however WWII is a war that involved the efforts of numerous specialists behind the scenes. Azma Dar brings us the story of Noor Inayat Khan, a trailblazer ruled by fighting for what she believes in.
Posthumously awarded the George Cross, the second highest honour an individual can earn in the United Kingdom honours system ’for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger’ , Noor’s story is an otherwise silent one. Noted for her contribution within the Special Operations Executive division, Noor, a Muslim woman, would find herself aiding in the French Resistance against Nazi occupied France as a wireless operator.
Dar captures Noor’s (Sophie Khan Levy) ‘quiet and peacefulness’ in a two hour long piece attempting to draw out this inspirational historical figure. Noor captures a sense of the waiting, the intrigue, the tension, the word heavy conversations in which the British would have had in order to be a step ahead of the enemy. Noor displays her heroism, she charms her colleagues with her peaceful nature, she’s fearless, intelligent, but the evening doesn’t focus on her enough. Every operative plays their part, and it’s evident Dar wants to display this with a feeling of the piece continually moving, but Noor is such an inspirational historical figure, there’s a feeling of not fully learning enough about her by the end of the piece and a feeling of other figures having more of a focus.
Noor’s story is a great one, and it’s fantastic to see Dar celebrate her efforts. Kali have yet again found a narrative worth sharing, you’ll leave wanting to do your research on this great individual.
Written by Lucy Basaba.
Noor was shown on Thursday 10th and Thursday 17th May 2018 as part of the Kali War Play Season at the Tristan Bates Theatre. To find out more about Kali, visit here…