Available for booking beginning January 2018

Conceived and created by Sandglass Theater
Directed by
Eric Bass and Roberto Salomon
Designed by Ines Zeller Bass

The Ensemble: Shoshana Bass, Keila K. Ching, Sahoo Divyamaan, 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, journeys of refugees by Sandglass Theater.  Video by Willow O’Feral/Haptic Pictures.
Photos by Kiqe Bosch

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.

For BOOKING contact

Babylon Study Guide 2017


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.

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Dear Friends,

As a longtime admirer of Sandglass Theater, I very much look forward to working with the company
again, bringing their timely piece Babylon to Portland, Maine. As a city with a significant community of
refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers – Babylon will resonate deeply.

Sandglass’ puppetry is exquisite both in form and the powerful emotion it evokes. As The Village Voice
once remarked: “That Bass can conjure so much history and soul out of a two-foot puppet is its own
mystery….” I whole-heartedly agree.

Again and again I am also awed by the sensitivity and nuance Sandglass brings to difficult subjects. This
expertise will be brought to bear once again in the telling of the immigrant story. At its core, this is a
story about the endurance of the human spirit. However, we also recognize how the topic of immigration
has become charged and politicized.

We need Sandglass, the power of their art, and the magic of puppetry to have this conversation in our

With great respect,
Aimée M. Petrin
Executive & Artistic Director
Portland Ovations