A man returns to his childhood home, a small coastal town in post-civil war El Salvador— a place he swore to the ocean he’d never set foot in again.
HE is a coming-of-age tragedy about the treacherous waters of masculinity, homophobia, and love. About dad, the war, mum, the moon, the shadows of the past… still lingering. A story about sex, sin, Jesús, and the ocean.
Conceived, written and performed by Salvadoran-Australian theatre practitioner Rodrigo Calderón Tobar, HE is physical, vivid and delirious storytelling, with a cumbia heart-beat.
50% of the earnings of this show will be donated to Nana Margarita, an indigenous woman and community leader from El Salvador, working for the preservation of ancient traditional practices and cultural memory. Unfunded, and fighting against political and religious discrimination, her community is building a Temazcal— a pre-Hispanic ceremonial space for communal practices: gatherings, improving health, and for women to give birth. Click here.
'I found it! The gem every theatre critic dreams of.
What I will tell you is 'HE' is blindingly fantastic on all levels. The writing is glorious... It is not just the writing though. Calderón is a master actor and physical theatre afficionado.
He will have you laughing, crying, gasping in outrage, and lost in despair.'
Samsara Dunston | WhatDidSheThink?
“I was lucky enough to witness Rodrigo Calderón’s outstanding performance… His performance was nothing short of virtuosic (both physically and vocally) and the passion which he brought to the work was something that is unfortunately far too rare in Australia.”
Dr. Lynne Bradley | Artistic Director, Horizon Festival
“Rodrigo's piece HE is strange, captivating and alluring. A beautifully textured and embodied performance exploring that great (and endless) mystery- the ocean. Somehow through the exploration of his relationship to the ocean, he takes us into an exploration of male sexuality, love, violence. It takes us into another world that we at once recognise and can't quite catch - a South American world of family, toxic masculinity, first love, and always present in the imagination and the story - the ocean.
An exploration of the forces that can't be controlled. The dark forces and the life giving forces- the erotic, the tender. The work is poetic and inexplicable - a quality that draws us in and keeps us putting together the pieces of the puzzle.
Surprising, sensual, political, visceral and delicate.
A piece performed with skill and passion.”
Dr. Bagryana Popov | Theatre maker, Lecturer in Theatre and Drama
"Rodrigo is an utterly compelling performer. He can hold an audience's attention with his visceral physicality. He is unafraid to tackle subjects that are taboo and has the intelligence and creativity to make bold and engaging work"
Susie Dee | Theatre Director
"The Exploration of HE showed great potential. It was gentle, powerful, raw and insightful. Rodrogo's performance was both nuanced and commanding. I'm really excited to see how this work will develop and have every faith in Rodrigo as a maker of great integrity."
Caitlin Dullard | Artistic Director, LaMama Theatre
"Clever, blunt, and poetic writing on a minimalistic stage. HE, written and performed by Rodrigo Calderon, is engagingly balanced by the simplicity of the stage with a complex, deep, and passionate delivery. Intimate storytelling and powerful characters immerse and eventually drown you into the invisible 20th century psychological crimes of western civilization."
Pablo Gomez | Brunswick daily
"Rodrigo’s performance was both comforting and confronting (I want to say the human-ness of his performance, as if we aren’t all human, but sometimes in this world it doesn’t feel like we always are, or are given permission to be). Rodrigo’s artistry is that he invites us to be human together again. The feeling is of coming back to ourselves. To breathe together. To laugh together. To dance together. To smell together. To feel the same thing at the same time. To recognise our own lives in a story of another. The audience are not separate to the work, we are part of the work. The work is not just telling a story, it is growing a community.
HE is a radical act of truth telling and hope, performed by one man, simply and skillfully, with courage and with heart. I can still smell the ocean now."
Penny Harpham | CEO /Executive Director, Western Edge
Conceived, written, staged, and performed Rodrigo Calderón
Dramaturgical consultations Edgardo Dib, Matthew Crosby and Damien Miller
Provocateur Kendra Keller
Photographer Daisy Et