Babylon (Journeys of Refugees)

Photo: Kiqe Bosch

About the show

Spring Tour 2020
San Diego Center for Jewish Culture CA, Skirball Cultural Center Los Angeles CA, Theater Off Jackson, Seattle WA

SANDGLASS THEATER’s action-packed, high energy production is a response to the world wide refugee crisis and it’s impact on communities in the United States. Working with the USCRI Vermont (US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants), we seek to understand the challenges that face refugees and asylum seekers. Sandglass conducted research and interviews with new residents who immigrated to the US in order to gain insight into their plight and the challenges of resettlement. Babylon looks at the relationship of refugees to their homelands, lost and new, and the conflicts that exist within the countries to which they flee.

Using puppets and moving panoramic scrolls, five actor/singer/puppeteers tell refugees’ stories in original four-part choral songs. Our show is portable and accessible to a range of venue configurations in order to be able to play in diverse spaces and communities. Residencies can include a selection of workshops and community engagement opportunities. For ages 14 and up.

The Refugee Journey workshop:

Community workshops presented through the Babylon residency project engage participants through facilitated discussions that stem from a “board game” created by USCRI Vermont’s Laurie Stavrand. The game, called Refugee Journey, recreates the emotional experience of trying to bring refugee "pieces" to safety. Throughout the game, participants draw cards that tell parts of true refugee stories, and move the game pieces forward or backward on the board. Sandglass performers play the roles of border guards, smugglers, medical officers, and immigration interviewers. These characters directly confront participants in order to personalize the refugee experience in all its danger, unfairness, and bureaucracy. Frequently, the game puts a player in the situation of having to make an impossible choice, and these experiences are processed during post-game discussions. The game is over when time is up, or when one person reaches resettlement. The game’s conclusion represents the statistic that only 1% of refugees ever reach a new homeland.

The game of Refugee Journey was created by Laurie Stavrand in collaboration with Jana Zeller (design) and Sandglass Theater.

Workshop duration: 90 minutes.
Number of participants: approx. 20 (but can be up to 30)
Age range: High school and older

For a list of the creative team and cast, please click on the Babylon Press Kit PDF below.

Thanks to Dina Nayeri for the use of her texts from The Ungrateful Refugee, as published in The Guardian in 2017.

Babylon (Journeys of Refugees) has touring subsidies available through the National Theater Project award!
This competitive award supports projects that push aesthetic boundaries and reflect cultural and aesthetic diversity alive in theater today. The grant provides funding for development as well as support for touring awarded to the presenters.

(802) 387 – 4051

Video by Willow O’Feral

Babylon Artist Bios

Eric Bass, Co-Founder, Co-Artistic Director

Co-Founding Artistic Director of Sandglass Theater, has worked for nearly forty years as a director, playwright, performer, presenter, producer, and puppet maker. In 1982, Eric co-founded Sandglass Theater in Munich, Germany, with his wife, Ines Zeller Bass, and they moved to Vermont in 1986. As a director, he has worked in America, Australia, Germany, Poland, and Finland, as well as the United States. In 1991, Eric was awarded the Figurentheater Prize of the City of Erlangen, Germany for his contributions to the field of Puppet Theater. International collaborations include The Story ·of the Dog, in Cambodia, BlackBirds in Poland, and a new adaptation of Nathan the Wise in El Salvador. All of these productions have addressed the impact of war and violence in society. Eric served for five years on the first board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters. He has been the Festival Artistic Director of Sandglass’ ten international Puppets in the Green Mountains Festivals. In 2010, Eric and Ines received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He is now touring in Sandglass’ D-Generation: an Exaltation of Larks, a piece about people with dementia and their caregivers, with support from the National Theater Project of NEFA. His newest production with Sandglass Theater is Babylon: journeys of refugees, created in association with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.

Roberto Salomon, Co-Director

Since 2003, Roberto Salomon has directed the Teatro Luis Poma, the first privately owned theater functioning year-round in his native El Salvador. In Geneva, Switzerland, he has been directing and teaching theater for the past 25 years. This is his third production with Sandglass Theater. Roberto is also the co-director of the recent·Natan el Sabio, a collaboration between TLP and Sandglass in El Salvador, a production hailed as “a mouthful of fresh air” in a country currently beset by violence. Roberto is the director of Sandglass’·D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks, for which we won the Best Director award at the 2013 Puppeteers of America festival.

Ines Zeller Bass, Puppet and Stage Design

Ines Zeller Bass, Co-Founding Artistic Director of Sandglass, has been performing with puppets since 1968, when she became a member of the Munich marionette theater, Kleines Spiel. In 1978, she created her children’s hand puppet theater, Punschi, which has toured Europe, Australia and the US. In 1982, Ines co-founded Sandglass Theater with husband Eric in Germany and moved the theater to Vermont in the mid-1980s. Ines started Sandglass Theater’s program for family audiences. Together with Eric, she teaches their approach to puppetry performance and devised composition in workshops in Vermont and abroad. She recently designed the puppets and set for Natan El Sabio, a collaborative project with Teatro Luis Poma in El Salvador. Ines’ puppets and design for Babylon, Sandglass Theater’s newest production, include two of her many crankies. Ines is currently touring in the Sandglass production of D-Generation, An Exaltation of Larks, a piece about people with dementia. She is a UNIMA citation winner and in 2010, received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

The Ensemble

Shoshana Bass, Ensemble Performer

Shoshana refers to herself as one of the daughters of sand, and is currently approaching the possibilities of continuing Sandglass Theater’s life into the next generation. Having been raised in a traveling family of internationally acclaimed puppeteers, she has spent her life witnessing and in dialogue with artistic voices of diverse cultures, heritages, and perspectives. Her performance mediums range throughout theater, dance, circus and puppetry, which makes her an enthusiastic and flexible collaborator. She is a graduate of Naropa University with an Interdisciplinary degree in performing arts, peace studies and tai chi. Shoshana has performed and choreographed in Poland, the Virgin Islands, Germany, and the United States.

Ron Domingo, Ensemble Performer

Ron Domingo is a New York-based actor who has worked in theater, film and TV for the last thirty years. He is excited to be telling the stories of refugees with Sandglass Theater.

Dey Hernández Vázquez
, Ensemble Performer

Dey Hernández Vázquez is an Afro-Caribbean Latinx bicultural worker (AgitArte collective), curator, interdisciplinary artist, permaculturist, puppeteer (Papel Machete), movement artist (Danza Orgánica), designer and educator centering on collaborative projects + practices. As a border artist between Puerto Rico and Boston, through modeling, manifesting and building opportunities for liberation in the everyday, her work untangles how the complicated diasporic and colonial histories of this so-called nation persist and continue to operate throughout the world and within its own perimeters. Dey holds a Master of Architecture (MArch) from the University of Puerto Rico.

Kalob Martinez, Ensemble Performer

Kalob has performed with Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre (Houston), Main Street Theatre (Houston), Houston Shakespeare Festival, and was an Associate Artist for the Classical Theatre Company (Houston) 2009-2013. He is an MFA candidate in the Puppet Arts Program at the University of Connecticut, where he created his solo production, El Beto, based on MacBeth. Kalob is also a Fight Choreographer.

Raphael Sacks, Ensemble Performer

Raphael Sacks is a singer, dancer and theatermaker from New York City, newly transplanted to Springfield Vermont with his own dance-theater company Loom Ensemble (, in residence at the Art Monastery Vermont ( on the banks of the Connecticut River.

Kaitee Yaeko Tredway, Ensemble Performer

Kaitee Yaeko Tredway is a Boston-based puppetry performer, designer, fabricator, and coach. In the fall of 2019, she performed in the ensemble of Martin P. Robinson’s All Hallows’ Eve. Her original work to date consists of short-form puppet pieces presented at puppet slams in both Boston and NYC. She has studied with international puppet artists Hugo & Ines and Yael Rasooly at the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Credits on stage and behind the scenes in Boston include the Lyric Stage Company, Company One, imaginary beasts, and Wheelock Family Theatre. She is a graduate of Bennington College.

Thank you to our funders

Babylon was made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional support for Babylon was awarded from 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.

Additional touring support is provided through the generosity of The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program and by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.