Sandglass Theater is working with Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program to create a performance that tells stories of the journeys of people who have fled war and violence.
Years ago, I was caught in a snowstorm coming home from Vancouver just before Christmas. Stranded in the airport for the night, I talked to a man who told me his story. He and his family were flying to Montreal from Finland for a Christmas holiday. Somehow his boarding pass was misprinted and, while his wife and kids flew to Montreal, he was flown to Vancouver where he hoped to get a flight back to Montreal. Unfortunately, because of the snowstorm and the Christmas travel rush, all flights were full until days after Christmas so he was stuck in Vancouver while his family had Christmas without him.
At the time, the story struck me as sad – sad for the lonely father and sad for the fatherless family at Christmas time. Now I multiply his story by thousands of people and by thousands of days – maybe lifetimes. I multiply his story to think what it would be if he never got Montreal, or if he was sent back to a country in which his fate would be prison or death. Could I imagine that conversation? Could I imagine hearing his story, and then getting on my own flight and leaving him to his fate?
Sandglass Theater is working with Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, a field office of the U. S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in Colchester to tell some of the many stories of refugees’ journeys. Through our work with Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, we interviewed people who fled war and violence, who saw loved ones murdered, who ran from one refugee camp to another over years of displacement, and who now have homes in Vermont. With help from VRRP, their children go to schools, and they themselves are part of the workforce, building new lives and communities.
Recently, the town of Rutland opened its door to take in 25 families from Syria. Two families made it in before the Trump Administration’s ban closed the door. Where are the rest of these families now?
Sandglass Theater’s new production,Babylon, distills these stories down to images and songs that help us all feel and understand what is at stake for people seeking asylum here and abroad. The production will have it’s first public staging at the end of April, a benefit performance for VRRP.
Sandglass Theater stands with those here and abroad who contest the ban on refugees. We believe that we are responsible for the lives of others, and that it is this responsibility for each other that will ultimately help us to have a safer and more humane world.