A New Work from Sandglass Theater
Available for touring January 2018
Conceived and created by Sandglass Theater
Directed by Eric Bass and Roberto Salomon
Designed by Ines Zeller Bass
The Ensemble: Shoshana Bass, Kei Ching, James Gelter, Terrell Jones, Kalob Martinez
Puppets by Ines Zeller Bass with Jana Zeller
Crankies by Ines Zeller Bass and Jana Zeller
Songs composed by Brendan Taaffe, lyrics by Eric Bass
Percussion score by Julian Gerstin
Choral Director Becky Graber
Artistic Collaboration & Lighting Molly Gawler
Immigration interviewer: Keeley Eastly
Voice recording by Finn Campman
Projection and Sound design by Maria Pugnetti
Set building Zak Grace
Technical Direction and Caterpillars by Jerry Stockman
Conflict Transformation Trainer John Ungerleider
Created in cooperation with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program:Amila Merdzanovic, Director & Laurie Stavrand, Program Officer
The game of Refugee Journey created by Laurie Stavrand in collaboration withJana Zeller (design) and Sandglass Theater.
BABYLON: an ancient city in what is now Iraq. Its ruins lie 59 miles southwest of Baghdad. This fallen mythic civilization becomes, for us, a metaphor for the destruction and destabilization that is leading much of the world into a refugee crisis of mythic proportion.
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 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.
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This project 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.