How to Be a Better Human is a spoken word piece about grief and divorce, which could sound utterly depressing on the surface. But if you’ve ever experienced either, you will know that there’s a surprising amount of humour in the darkest of situations. Performed by Chris Singleton and directed by Tom Wright, the show uses PowerPoint, poetry, storytelling, animation and music to encourage conversations around these meaty topics.
Singleton is an engaging performer and not afraid to go deep with his feelings. Despite it being 2022, so few conversations about love, loss and grief are told from a male perspective. I am sure many can relate to watching someone you love die but being unable to vocalise that love. The multimedia aspect means the storytelling feels fresh, and while the story is deeply personal, the themes are universal. This isn’t a show that’s simply ‘my dad died, and my wife left me,’ it’s so much more. It’s a show about goodbyes but also new beginnings. It’s a powerful show about how we can demonstrate our love in non-verbal ways and loss.
It’s essentially a show of two halves, with the lead-up to Singleton’s dad dying the more powerful narrative. The section on the marriage breakup isn’t as well thought out but still packs a punch. With a little tweaking, the show could go from being great to truly excellent. One truly touching aspect of How To Be A Better Human is where the show is dedicated to a lost loved one, where previous audience members or social media users write a little about their dead parent, and we get to celebrate them. A lovely way to honour those we’ve loved and lost.