SANDGLASS THEATER’s new production looks at the relationship of refugees to their homelands, lost and new, and the conflicts that exist within American communities to which they have fled. Working with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, we have interviewed “new residents” in order to gain first hand insight into their plight, trauma and the challenges of resettlement.Using puppets and moving panoramic scrolls, we tell the refugees’ stories in original four-part choral songs. We work with simple means, not much more than someone could carry with them as they flee. Babylon is performed by five
actors/singers/puppeteers.Babylon, journeys of refugees also explores our own attention spans, how capable we are to stay interested in the duration of someone else’s journey – one that does not necessarily end with the arrival in a new land.The puppets are seven refugees at a metaphorical hearing about their need for asylum. Their stories intertwine. One of the refugees is a ghost. One is a voiceless caterpillar. The others come from Syria, Afghanistan, El Salvador, and Burundi. In Babylon, the blending of actual testimony with unreal figures gives us a view into how we respond to the enormity of this crisis.
Babylon, journeys of refugees tours this Fall with performances at Raritan Valley Community College in North Branch, New Jersey from October 16 – 21 and at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont October 30 – November 5th.
Babylon, journeys of refugees is supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Fresh Sound Foundation, The Jim Henson Foundation, The McKenzie Family Charitable Trust, The Vermont Community Foundation, The National Performance Network with commissions from The Flynn Center, Portland Ovations, Columbia College Chicago Center for Community Arts Partnerships.