Pictures from our work in Thessaloniki here.

Maria Kaikas introduction:

Beyond Compassion and racism

What you’re about to see onstage is nothing short of a small miracle. Our team was formed only 10 days ago inside the softex camp. Ten days. This is all the time it took for the auithors –actors to create the play you’re about to see with the guidance of Kent Ekberg and Mousa Elias.

It is not a fine and stylised theatre show.  It is a story in progress. It is many stories weaved together through text, movement, feelings, and music. It is their stories. But at the same time it is our stories too. It is a universal story. Not only of refugees, but also of people imprisoned in all sorts of different forms of un-freedom:  whether this bears the name of poverty, debt, economic crisis, overbearing bureaucratic institutions, etc

We know their story —more or less

So why watch it again in a theatre play?

Because unless new people take on the role of the protagonist, the truth cannot be told or restored.  Because unless refugees narrate their story not as pitifull subjects, but as people on stage, in a position of power, in the role of the protagonist, the social stereotypes that lead to racism cannot be overcome.

Theatre, as a par excellence political act has the power to create new protagonists, to  overturn old, and create new collective myths, new collective social imaginaries.  Ιn Sophocle’s play, Antigone overturns on stage the traditional roles. From a powerless woman caged in the prison of patriarchical  tradition, she becomes the heroin who enacts her own liberation.

In our story, the refugees stop being objects of philanthropy or racism, or even curiosity,  and become instead protagonists. Through narrating the history of their own trajectory,  roles  shift, even meanings of everyday objects  change.  The beds onstage look a lot like the bare beds they used to sleep on inside the main hall of the Softex camp.

But as the narrative of the play evolves, the beds change, like the people change. They become first the prison, the war, the violence, from which they tried to escape. They then become the boat that takes them across.  For they become the stones, that made a bridge to cross the river.  Or the tent to protect them from the rain.

As the story of people and objects is repeated from mouth to mouth, maybe it has power to create new myths and to change the collective consciousness of the society as a whole.

Our story will be narrated in three different languages. English, Greek, and Arabic.

But in fact it hardly needs words to be told…

Maria Kaika
on behalf of the authors -actors and the academic and artistic committee.


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